Mary Lou McDonald must make a detailed statement on a €4 million donation received by the Sinn Féin party which she said is exempt from Irish rules, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Kieran O’Donnell’s call comes after the Sinn Féin Leader declared that rules from the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) on donations do not apply to her party as it operates on “a six- and 26-county basis”.
SIPO were seeking clarity from Sinn Féin about the execution of the will of an English man who left an estate worth €4 million to the party.
Deputy O’Donnell said, “We have confirmation once again that two separate Sinn Féin parties exist on the island of Ireland.
“Mary Lou McDonald told SIPO in response to their queries that this donation was not offered to, or accepted by, the Sinn Féin party in the 26-county jurisdiction, but rather it was received by the Sinn Féin party, registered in the six counties, with the British Electoral Commission.
“This is the party who continuously talk about the need for transparency, yet on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning, Mary Lou McDonald failed to answer basic questions on the donation and was evasive when asked whether that money was spent in the North or the South.
“She also claimed that rules and regulations are obeyed by Sinn Fein wherever funds are raised.
“At the end of the day, it appears Sinn Féin are using the border to their own advantage by circumventing rules on political donations in the South, which are capped at a maximum of €2,500 in a single year.
“SIPO also states clearly in it’s guidelines: A political party or any of its sub-units may not accept a donation, of any value, from an individual (other than an Irish citizen) who resides outside the island of Ireland.
“This is seriously concerning and undermines Sinn Féin’s accountability once again. I believe it is time for Deputy McDonald to make a detailed statement in the Dáil on this matter.
“I would ask her to clarify the legal status of Sinn Féin, are they a partitionist party as distinct from an all-island party as they claim to be? I would call on her to set out the circumstances of how the donation was made?; How much money was bequeathed in the South? And how much of the donation has been spent on activities in the South?
“I would also like to know where does the money currently reside and what is the party’s current engagement with SIPO on this matter?.
“Sinn Féin’s hypocrisy and double standards on a wide range of issues is a common theme and has been laid bare once again with confirmation from Deputy McDonald that the party operates on “a six- and 26-county basis.”
“She needs to make a statement on this donation in Dáil Eireann as a matter of urgency – the Irish Public are entitled to no-less,” Deputy O’Donnell concluded.