A Sinn Féin commissioned General Election poll costing €7,000 was excluded from their SIPO returns for almost two years until a reporter contacted them about it, Fine Gael Minister Peter Burke has said.
“This is in stark contrast to the rubbish put forward by Sinn Féin TDs who this week said they uncovered the mistake themselves and corrected it. We now know it was the Irish Times who contacted them in December 2021 and the SIPO returns were amended in January 2022.
“This is completely at odds with Sinn Féin’s explanation of the matter. They need to correct the record as a matter of urgency,” Minister Burke said.
On RTE Radio 1’s Drivetime yesterday, Deputy Eoin Ó’Broin, who published the findings of the London based polling company days before the 2020 General Election, said: ‘The party has commented publicly to say we discovered that error, we rectified it immediately with an updated report to SIPO, we didn’t wait years and years for journalists to expose it and only then fix the matter.’
Minister Burke said. “This is a completely misleading and incorrect statement to make on the national airwaves. They didn’t discover it themselves, a journalist did.
“A journalist asked Sinn Féin about this in December 2021 and they were forced to amend their SIPO returns.
“Deputy Ó’Broin claimed the party themselves uncovered the omission and voluntarily amended their donation statement. Several of their deputies have been spinning the narrative that the mistake was picked up internally. All complete and utter rubbish.
“Was Deputy Ó’Broin not informed by his party that a journalist contacted them and brought the incorrect SIPO filings to their attention before they amended their returns before he went on radio yesterday? The fact is the party cannot be trusted to tell the truth.
“Sinn Féin must come before the Dáil and explain everything about their incorrect declaration to the election spending watchdog. I am now asking Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald to make a statement on this matter, and correct previous inaccurate remarks and explanations from her party’s representatives.”
Minister Burke said: “The double standards practiced by Sinn Féin are staggering when it comes to demanding transparency and accountability from others, yet failing time and time again to live up to those standards in how it conducts its own affairs.
“There are so many further questions that we now need answered. They include:
- Was the invoice from the London based polling company in sterling or euros?
- Who paid for it?
- What date was it paid?
- Which section of Sinn Féin, their Northern operation that accepts multi million euro wills or their 26 county operation?
- Will they provide clear proof of how it was paid?
“Let’s see what Sinn Féin have to say on those questions,” Minister Burke said.