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Research company used by Sinn Féin is formally dissolved

Sinn Féin claimed almost £700,000 in public money for research carried out by Research Services Ireland
John Monaghan

A RESEARCH company paid almost £700,000 in public money by Sinn Féin MLAs has been formally dissolved.

In 2014, west Belfast based Research Services Ireland (RSI) was at the centre of an investigation by BBC Spotlight, which said it was unable to find any evidence of work carried out by the organisation.

Sinn Féin told the programme that the firm had undertaken extensive research which was "too sensitive" for others to carry out.

A total of 36 MLAs claimed nearly £700,000 in expenses over a 10-year period for work done by the company.

Sinn Féin insisted it did nothing wrong and the Assembly Commission concluded last year that the claims were admissible.

The assembly has since changed rules governing expenses claims.

RSI's directors included two members of Sinn Féin's finance division - Séamus Drumm, son of former party vice-president Máire Drumm who was murdered by loyalists in 1976, and Sinéad Walsh, wife of former IRA prisoner and Belfast councillor Séanna Walsh.

According to documents lodged with Companies House, it was officially dissolved on Tuesday.

In November the firm had applied to be voluntarily struck off the register of companies.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said last night: "Research Services Ireland (RSI) was dormant and ceased to function in January 2014.

"RSI was officially wound up in November 2016."

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