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Mary Lou accepted donation from Jonathan Dowdall – Carroll MacNeill

6th November 2022 - Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, TD

More than four years after he was sentenced for waterboarding, the Sinn Féin leader has admitted a donation from criminal Jonathan Dowdall was probably used in her successful General Election campaign, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said the truth about a €1,000 donation from the gangland criminal to Deputy Mary Lou McDonald, and published in her 2011 SIPO returns, is only slowly starting to emerge.

When asked about the donation, made by cheque in the same year as the 2011 General Election, on Newstalk’s On the Record, Deputy Mary Lou McDonald said, ‘it would have been spent on legitimate political expenses and probably election expenses’.

Responding Deputy Carroll MacNeill said, “It has taken more than four years since Dowdall’s 2018 sentencing for torturing a man, while serving as a Sinn Féin councillor, for the Sinn Féin leader to admit what the criminal’s donation to her was used for.

“And now we finally have the truth, or at least some semblance of it.

“The leader of the Opposition, Deputy Mary Lou McDonald who wants to be Taoiseach, and talks about change, took a €1,000 donation for her successful General Election campaign from a criminal who has committed and abated in horrific violent acts while elected to serve as a Sinn Féin city councillor.

“Subsequently, the leader of the Opposition and most of her party colleagues have gone silent since Dowdall pleaded guilty for his role in the most notorious gangland attack in this country on September 28 last.

“Last month, Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin would only admit to reporters that Dowdall’s donation was ‘spent’ but did not elaborate on what.

“Now we know. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald’s first successful General Election campaign during a recession when finances were extremely tight for everyone.

“It has taken six weeks for Deputy McDonald to appear before media to take questions on this and other concerning matters. However, clear answers are still required as this episode is extremely concerning.

“It appears from Deputy McDonald’s comments today that nobody in Sinn Féin seemed to know anything about Dowdall despite the fact that numerous media reports puts him up close and personal to criminal elements in Dublin’s North inner city since he was a teenager. He took loans from them for his businesses, to meet payroll costs.

“I genuinely can’t believe that Deputy McDonald and Sinn Féin had such a weak political network in Dublin Central that they didn’t know any of this regarding Dowdall, when as was said on radio today, there were numerous media court reports to this effect- this is either pretty embarrassing for Sinn Féin or just incorrect.

“It begs several more questions for the Sinn Fein Party leader.

  • What did she do in when Dowdall was first arrested in 2016 to find out where Sinn Féin went wrong? Something, nothing? Or was she not that concerned?
  • If she didn’t investigate then, what has she been doing since he was convicted in 2018 when it has been so widely reported, to learn where she and her party went wrong. Or was it just a glib line today?

“Separately and just as importantly, it is also deeply disturbing she still believes there is ‘no comparison’ between violence of the IRA during the Troubles and gangland violence.

“All violence, no matter who committed it or why, is wrong. That was the view of John Hume and it is not going to be retrospectively painted out of Irish history no matter how hard Sinn Fein try to justify and legitimise the actions of murderers and terrorists.

“It was never justified.

“The evidence is that even today, when it comes to Sinn Féin, there is a casualness about how they treat violence – otherwise why the failure to investigate and learn how they had among their party, people willing to commit and conspire in committing heinous offences and also provide financial donations to their leading politicians which we are now only learning of. This is a serious concern for this country,” Deputy Carroll MacNeill added.


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