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Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 12:09 GMT
Sinn Fein's 'open book' offer
Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin
Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin: Funding trips helped peace
Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin has offered to open the party's accounts to scrutiny in advance of a debate on political donations from overseas.

The Foyle assembly member made the offer during an interview on BBC Radio Ulster to quell any unease about where it channels donations to the party.


I think the media, even with the most cursory examination of that, and let me invite them to do so, will find that every single dollar is documented

Mitchel McLaughlin
The House of Commons is due to debate proposals for a special Northern Ireland exemption from tighter regulations on political funding.

Under the exemption, parties in Northern Ireland would be allowed to receive donations from overseas and would not have to disclose the identity of donors who gave more than 5,000.

Sinn Fein receives the bulk of its funding from the United States. Unionists have questioned whether the money is used solely for political purposes.

Mr McLaughlin said the "extensive diplomacy and publicity campaign" overseas had benefited the peace process.

He offered to open the party's books to outside financial scrutiny.

"I think the media, even with the most cursory examination of that, and let me invite them to do so, will find that every single dollar is documented," he said.

"There's the most rigorous accountancy systems insisted upon by financial authorities in the United States.

"They will actually see precisely how much money was raised. They will also be able to see precisely how that money was used."

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20 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
'Split' on thwarting Real IRA
26 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
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