Gardaí should investigate reports Sinn Féin members were instructed to pose as pollsters to trick members of the public into giving them information, according to Fianna Fáil.
The Irish Independent reports that Sinn Féin provided members with fake ID badges and instructions on how to pose as researchers from a polling company while knocking on doors around the country.
The 2015 election training manual instructed members to pretend to be from the Irish Market Research Agency (IMRA) – which does not exist – while asking people for their opinions on candidates and political issues.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Fianna Fáil TD March Macsharry said Gardaí should now investigate.
“This amounts to basic subversion of the public,” he said. “Provision of fake IDs to proscribe what lies people say on behalf of a political party is not normal political behaviour and I think the Gardaí should be consulted quite frankly on it.
“I think when we have proof now of a 77-page manual telling, encouraging and training personnel how to lie … providing them with fake official documents or would-be official documents, I think, says a great deal about the organisation.
“It is extremely worrying and I don’t know anybody involved in politics up to now, who would have engaged in such subversion in the modern democratic world.”
— Philip Ryan (@Philip_Ryan) June 9, 2021
He said he wants to hear a view from Gardaí on whether the strategy was illegal.
“We all have come across people looking to elicit things from the public and we know that data is commodity now that people are prepared to pay money for,” he said.
“I think, quite frankly, anybody using fake identification to proscribe a dishonest outcome from the people who they are engaging with is not honest, it is not the sort of wholesome activity that we expect from our establishment and as I said it amounts to basic subversion so I would be amazed if Gardaí didn’t have a comment to make on this.
“I am sure the public who are the victims on this would be appalled if they were among those who were surveyed by this fictitious Sinn Féin company.”
He said any other political party would “quite rightly be held to account” if they were found to be using a similar strategy.
“I fully expect the political system, journalism, the media and law enforcement to take this matter very, very seriously,” he said.
“Sinn Féin has become a quite popular party nationally and if this sort of activity underpins what they are capable of, where are we heading as a country?”
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin will discuss the revelations on The Pat Kenny Show this morning.
You can listen back to Deputy MacSharry here: