RTÉ Investigates show may be Reeling in the Years entry - Adams

Revelations on political corruption will be history unless Government acts, says SF chief

The Prime Time Investigates special on political corruption could  add up to no more than a slot on a TV history programme without firm action, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said.  File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Prime Time Investigates special on political corruption could add up to no more than a slot on a TV history programme without firm action, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

The significance of Monday’s RTÉ programme on political corruption will extend no further than Reeling in the Years unless the Government acts, Sinn Féin has claimed.

President Gerry Adams said the revelations in the RTÉ Investigates: Standards in Public Office special were deeply shocking, but could still add up to no more than a slot on the TV history programme without firm action.

Mr Adams said: “It is a spectacular story because of the broadcast last night.

“RTÉ and Prime Time [sic] are to be commended for their investigative work. It will join Reeling in the Years unless the Government acts.”

Planning regulator

Mr Adams and Sinn Féin has proposed the establishment of a planning regulator.

The office would be independent in the performance of its functions, he said.

It would be in line with the recommendations of the Mahon tribunal, he added.

The Sinn Féin leader said the idea was proposed by the party in May and was rejected by the Government.

Mr Adams said: “The problem lies in the culture, and the only way to change that culture is to put sanctions on those who break the law. That’s the way to do it.”

The Social Democrats will on Tuesday night formally propose the establishment of an anti-corruption agency.

Roisín Shortall TD said the agency would have wide-ranging powers, including in law-enforcement.

Catherine Murphy TD said Ireland is the only country that does not have such a body.

She said: “If we don’t deal with the whole issue of governance and corruption in a serious way, we are in trouble.

“It would have to be a bottom line for us.”

Possible coalitions

Meanwhile, Mr Adams also insisted it is too early at this stage to discuss possible coalitions after the general election is held next year.

The Sinn Féin leader was questioned on Tuesday morning on whether his party would enter office with Fianna Fáil or Labour.

There is some support within his own party for a possible coalition with Labour.

Asked about it on Tuesday morning, Mr Adams said: “It is idle speculation to discuss who may or may not be in Government after the election when people haven’t voted.

“Our Ard Fheis made it clear that it would not do what the Labour Party has done in terms of Fine Gael. So that is clear, let’s get the biggest mandate possible.

“That will itself have an influence on the mandates of other parties, and when that is over and if we have a mandate to be in government and if we agree a programme for government with other parties, then our Ard Fheis will decide on that.”

Speaking to The Irish Times last week, a number of Sinn Féin TDs confirmed there was potential for a coalition with the Labour Party.

Fianna Fáil ‘out’

A significant number of them ruled out any potential for one with Fianna Fáil.

Mr Adams said the party’s position was clear and it would not enter a coalition as a junior party.

The Sinn Féin leader also denied expenses claimed by party representatives North and South of the Border were being distributed back to the party.

Mr Adams said any surplus is often channelled into the constituency the member represents.

He said: “What we do is, whatever salary I draw down, I use the surplus in terms of constituency.

“That is my right and entitlement.”