British MPs to debate restoration of SF allowances

British MPs are due to debate today whether to restore Sinn Féin's Westminster allowances, which are worth almost £500,000 (€728,000) annually to the party.

The allowances were suspended by the House of Commons last year in the wake of the £26.5m (€38.6m) Belfast bank heist and the murder of Robert McCartney, both of which were blamed on republicans.

The British government has now proposed restoring the payments following the Independent Monitoring Commission's conclusion that the IRA is genuinely trying to honour its promise to end all non-peaceful activity.

Sinn Féin insists that the allowances are a democratic right and should never have been withdrawn in the first place.

Unionists, however, are opposed to the restoration of the payments on the grounds that the IMC has not reported a complete end to all IRA activity.

They also say the money should be withheld from Sinn Féin because the party refuses to take its seats at Westminster.

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