Murphy announces sanctions against SF

22/02/2005 - 13:48:20

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy today announced financial sanctions against Sinn Féin following the Northern Bank robbery.

He said the decision on exclusion would have been very different if the robbery had occurred while the Assembly was still in operation.

Mr Murphy said it was inconceivable for Sinn Féin to hold ministerial office while the issue of paramilitary activity and criminality by the Provisional IRA remained unresolved.

He said it would be appropriate to remove Sinn Féin's entitlement to the financial aid paid to assembly parties for 12 months - the maximum allowed. Mr Murphy said he would talk to Sinn Féin next week before making his final decision.

The Northern Secretary said the British government was also proposing suspending allowances paid to Sinn Féin MPs who declined to take their seats. The British government will make time for a debate on that motion in the Commons.

Mr Murphy rejected calls to exclude Sinn Féin from the political process. He said that would not deliver long-term stability. But he said Sinn Féin must commit to non-violence.

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