Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin need to explain why they amended their 2020 General Election SIPO returns two years later, a Fine Gael Minister has said.
Minister Peter Burke, was speaking as it emerged today that the opposition party failed to declare a €7,000 payment to a British polling company, for work carried out in the last General Election, to the Standards in Public Office (SIPO).
Last year, the party made amended returns to SIPO to include the payment.
“What prompted Sinn Féin to amend their return last year.” Minister Burke said.
“Sinn Féin originally made an inaccurate return and failed to include a poll, carried out by a London based company, and tweeted by Deputy Eoin Ó Bróin in the closing stages of the February 2020 election. It cost €7,000. How can you forget a sum like that?
“If the return was being done in a normal professional environment, Sinn Féin would be reviewing money spent from their bank accounts during the electoral period and reconciling the statements.
“I don’t buy this horrendous excuse given today that remote working during the pandemic caused it. That’s rubbish. Who brought the error to the attention of Sinn Féin? Did they get a media query on it?
“Sinn Féin are absolute hypocrites the way they respond to these issues.
“Has SIPO taken any action against SF for not returning proper expenditure returns from the 2020 General Election.
“If it was a simple oversight, what measures did Sinn Féin or SIPO take to identify if other simple oversights were made?
“Sinn Féin only had a small number of returns under the Market Research section in their original 2020 return to SIPO. How can you forget an opinion poll that a party consciously decides to publish. This may have only come to light as Sinn Féin themselves tweeted about the poll, what other expenses may they have incurred quietly that remain undeclared,” Minister Burke asked.
“We know SIPO are looking into Sinn Féin for the management of party Facebook accounts from Serbia. That’s going on for almost two years. What else are they under investigation for? It’s time for the party to come forward on this,” he added.