Skip to comments.Anger as Sinn Fein MPs get offices
Posted on 12/19/2001 7:26:49 PM PST by Benson_Carter
Anger as Sinn Fein MPs get offices
LONDON (Reuters) - MPs belonging to Sinn Fein will be given offices in Westminster next month without having to swear an oath of loyalty to the queen -- though they will still not take their seats in the House of Commons.
The government won a vote late on Tuesday by a vote of 322 to 189 giving four Sinn Fein MPs office space and expense allowances.
Opposition Conservatives criticised the move as the latest in a string of concessions to Sinn Fein, the political ally of the IRA.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and his deputy Martin McGuinness will be allowed to use parliament's services and claim expenses of around 100,000 pounds a year.
Conservatives said the move created a two-tier parliament in which some MPs took responsibility while others got access to services without having to take their seats.
Sinn Fein have been unable to take their seats because they refuse to take an oath of allegiance to the Queen, which all MPs must swear.
"We are now in danger of creating two types of MP. One gets elected, takes their place in the House, takes responsibility for their judgment...and another that comes in, takes the money, and gets the office," Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith told BBC radio on Wednesday.
But in a bid to help Northern Ireland's peace process, the government proposed that the MPs -- Adams, McGuinness, Pat Doherty and Michelle Gildernew -- should be allowed to ignore the oath and use Commons facilities.
The Conservatives said the move went far beyond what was laid out in the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which aimed to put an end to 30 years of feuding between Catholics and Protestants.
Northern Ireland's Protestants also reacted angrily to the move. "These are four Sinn Fein MPs not properly doing their job, failing to participate in the proceedings of the House of Commons, and yet being in receipt of hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax payers' money," said Ulster Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson.
Firebrand Protestant MP and Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley said in a statement:
"This motion discriminates against Members of the House who take the oath. IRA/Sinn Fein, who have murdered and maimed for thirty years in Northern Ireland, are being treated differently because they threaten a return to war."
I support the Nationalist/Republican cause but this is ridiculious!
But even so, they still have better tunes than the Orangies do.
"Sinn Féin has for some years had a lobbying initiative in London. Today's move will allow this work to be built upon. It will allow us to try and overcome decades of misinformation and British propaganda. We will now be in a much better position to challenge the British government on their policy in Ireland and begin the debate in England around the issue of Irish unity."
People in England probably don't give a toss about Irish unity. Perhaps Adams and Co. hope to bore them to death.