High time for Mary Lou McDonald & Pearse Doherty to explain party accounts – Burke
18th February 2023 - Peter Burke TD
Sinn Féin election returns & financial statements under the spotlight
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and the party’s national treasurer Pearse Doherty must offer clear explanations on the latest set of revelations concerning their party accounts and declarations, a Fine Gael Minister has said.
Minister Peter Burke, a chartered accountant, said reports in today’s Irish Times of a plethora of inconsistencies and contradictions in Sinn Féin’s financial statements and electoral spending returns are extremely serious.
“This is highly serious. While we consider and decide how we can help people and businesses best tackle the cost of living and increased bills, Sinn Féin’s financial accounts and declarations are leaving serious questions that require immediate examination.
“There are obviously a series of highly unusual balances in Sinn Féin’s statutory accounts for a number of years which are overseen by Mary Lou McDonald and approved by National Treasurer Pearse Doherty.
“As candidates for future Taoiseach and Minister for Finance, it’s critical we have clear explanations without delay.
“What Deputy Eoin Ó Broin recently described as ‘sloppy’ after Sinn Féin blatantly failed to meet its obligations in filing statutory election returns has now spiralled into a very serious situation that strikes to the heart of our democracy and a political party’s responsibility to present accurate information to the statutory authorities.
“Firstly, as political parties are in receipt of state funding, they have a present obligation to account for it accurately as it has strict conditions to protect any inappropriate use of such funds. This allowance is based on the number of TD’s and Senators returned after each election.
“After the 2020 General Election, Sinn Féin increased their public representative numbers in the Oireachtas significantly and consequently, received significantly more funding from the State.
“The allowance is paid quarterly in arrears, but yet in the annual accounts of Sinn Féin the amount due from the State has remained the same for the last five years. How can the amount due remain static after hundreds of thousands of an increase in their annual allowance? It’s simply not credible.
“Other issues that stand out include transfers between its six and 26 county organisations where it uses partition to its advantage despite their public position.
“We have seen multimillion donations funnelling into their northern operation. As they are required to file returns in both jurisdictions and at a basic accounting level, transfers from Dublin to the North on the face of it taking into account exchange rates don’t reconcile for a number of years.
“What else are we to uncover about Sinn Féin?
“These and other issues reported today are extremely serious and strike to the heart of transparency in public office and democracy,” Minister Burke said.
Peter Burke TDLongford-Westmeath
Peter Burke is the Minister of State with responsibility for EU Affairs & Defence. He served as Minister of State…
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