Sinn Féin defends claiming Westminster expenses

The party has faced criticism for taking money while abstaining

Sinn Féin defends claiming Westminster expenses

Picture by: Harriet Line/PA Wire/PA Images

Sinn Féin has defended claiming over stg1m (€1.11m) from Westminster in the past decade while refusing to take up seats.

The party has faced criticism today after it was revealed that it receives around stg£100,000 (€111,747) a year despite its abstentionist policy.

It currently has seven MPs elected to Westminster. They meet with other parties but do not sit in the parliament.

Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly says it is what their supporters want.

"I was out canvassing during the Westminster elections, I knocked on many, many doors.

"People support fully our policy of abstentionism because they know that Sinn Féin - no matter where they are seated - will provide them with a top class constituency service.

"People are happy, we have had our policy endorsed in the most recent election.

Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly on the plinth at Leinster House as she speaks to the media | Image: RollingNews.ie

"I can tell you if you were out with Chris Hazzard or Michelle Gildernew or any of our new MPs, you would see the same - those people are very well respected and well valued by their communities.

"They were endorsed in the most recent election, and they were endorsed in the most recent election."

Asked if the party was happy enough to take the money, Deputy O'Reilly said: "We're happy enough that we're providing first class constituency services for people right across the six counties.

"That's being done through hard work, dedication and commitment of our people".