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All parties need to ensure full accountability on Sinn Féin’s financial errors – Naughton

26th February 2023 - Hildegarde Naughton TD

Every party in the Oireachtas should ensure there is full accountability on the ongoing revelations of Sinn Féin’s incorrect statutory declarations and audited accounts, a Fine Gael Minister has said.

Government Chief Whip Minister Hildegarde Naughton said Sinn Féin needs to give a full and frank account of what is going in with its financial book keeping as errors are continuing to be found across their election returns and party accounts. Some glaring inaccuracies run into hundreds of thousands of euros.

“There is an onus on all parties in the Oireachtas to ensure Sinn Féin gives a full account of what is going on with its accounts.

“It cannot be brushed under the carpet or simply denied and categorised as ‘sloppy’ as Sinn Féin has tried to do.

“Political parties receive taxpayers money every year and Sinn Féin is a big beneficiary in this regard. However, there is no confidence whatsoever as to Sinn Féin’s recorded use of public finances and its own accounts. Look at what has been exposed in recent months,” Minister Naughton said.

Revelations include:

  • Businesses and venues left burnt for thousands of euros for services provided to Sinn Féin in the 2014 local elections and 2016 General Election.
  • Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) not provided with the correct spending returns for the 2016 and 2020 General Elections.
  • Statutory returns for the 2020 General Election underdeclared when sterling amounts were filed instead of euros.
  • Several errors in the latest published Sinn Féin annual returns (2021), including an incorrect auditor’s report, an incorrect cash flow statement and a failure to include a staff pension scheme.
  • Failed to report the total expenditure made on behalf of two candidates in the 2019 European Elections.
  • SIPO had to repeatedly ask for amended declarations to be corrected which still have to be filed.
  • A senior independent chartered accountant who examined the issue for a newspaper said the contradictions between the accounts and the election declarations appear more substantial in nature and may require the amendment of the statutory filings.

Minister Naughton said: “In some of the initial cases, Sinn Féin tried to mislead the public and said it uncovered these errors itself, only then to be forced to admit it was media organisations who discovered them.

“Since then, they have avoided media interviews on the issue and resort to the usual Sinn Féin tactic of ‘go to ground and say nothing’.

“The list of financial errors continues to grow weekly. We need accountability in the Oireachtas now to ensure there is full transparency in Sinn Féin’s financial affairs which do not have the public trust.

“What more will emerge before we get full explanations from Mary Lou McDonald and her party treasurer Pearse Doherty who has overseen and signed off on all this since 2015?” Minister Naughton said.

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