Sinn Fein faces investigation calls over fake IDs polling company claims

Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt has joined a Fianna Fail TD in calling for gardai to investigate reports that Sinn Fein in Ireland provided its members with fake IDs to pretend they were part of a polling company.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 5:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 5:27 pm
Ballot boxes in the Republic

Sinn Fein also provided members with instructions on how to pose as researchers for a fake polling company, the Irish Market Research Agency, a report said.

Mr Nesbitt, who said it had to be established whether the same tactics were used in Northern Ireland, said: “For any political party to be utilising a 77 page training manual, sending people round doors carrying fake IDs and posing as researchers from a polling company is certainly not ‘widespread and common’ as one Dublin Sinn Fein source has claimed.

“It is further evidence - not that any is really needed – as to just how far removed Sinn Fein are from normal political parties. If any other party in Northern Ireland or the Republic was going round the doors, passing themselves off as fake pollsters and seeking to get information off voters, then Sinn Fein would be leading the outcry. However, because they are the ones doing it, it suddenly becomes a case of ‘nothing to see here, please move along.”

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Marc MacSharry said it amounted to “subversion of the public”.

The Irish Independent also reported that an internal training manual included instructions to members on how to misrepresent themselves and pose as pollsters when surveying householders.

Members would ask people for their opinions on election candidates and political issues.

Mr MacSharry, Fianna Fail TD for Sligo, said he was “shocked on one level but not surprised on another”.

“This amounts to basic subversion of the public,” he told Newstalk.

“The provision of fake IDs to prescribe what people say on behalf of a political party is not normal political behaviour and I think the gardai should be consulted on it.

“We are all used to in politics tackling people on one another’s polices, and certainly that’s not difficult on Sinn Fein’s Toytown economics than others’, but when we have proof over a 77-page manual, telling, training and encouraging personnel how to lie, providing them with fake documents, says a great deal about the organisation.

“It’s extremely worrying.”

Mr MacSharry said it needed gardai involvement.

“I would certainly like to hear their view,” he added.

“We have all come across people looking to elicit things from the public, we know that data is a commodity now and people are paying for it now.

“Anyone using fake ID to prescribe a dishonest outcome from people they are engaging with is not honest and not the sort of wholesome activity we expect from our establishment.

“I would be amazed if the gardai did not have something to say abut this.”

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “All parties conduct private local opinion polling.

“The document referred to in the Irish Independent story is many years old.

“These days we generally use professional companies for polling services.

“No private information or data is ever collected or stored.”