Sinn Féin is more interested in trying to destabilise the Irish Government at a time of national crisis brought on by Covid and Brexit, than explaining the misallocation of £30,000 in funding to three Sinn Féin offices in Northern Ireland, Fine Gael Minister of State Peter Burke has said.
Minister Burke said: “Sinn Féin has brought hypocrisy and double standards to a new level.
“Its President Mary Lou McDonald still has serious questions to answer about how Covid business grants totalling £30,000 were paid erroneously to three of its offices in Northern Ireland.
“Yet instead of answering these questions, her party has decided to play politics and try to destabilise the Irish Government.
“This from the party that still hasn’t answered crucial questions about the latest funny money incident.
“The questions we still need answered are:
“Why did Sinn Féin wait so long to repay the £30,000 in Covid business grants – which was first paid in March? Did nobody actually spot these payments?
“Why were the payments made in the first place, given that MP and MLA offices are not eligible for this scheme? One of the accounts with money paid into it is reportedly called the ‘West Tyrone Sinn Féin Development Fund’. Will the party account for this?
“Was any of this money spent by any of those involved before it was returned, and did Sinn Féin have to make up the difference?
“When was the money actually returned? And why was Sinn Féin the only party to receive these grants?
“Instead of answering these questions, Sinn Féin is more concerned about tabling a Motion of Confidence to the Tánaiste and the Irish Government.
“This is despite the fact that the Tánaiste spent two hours in the Dáil last week answering all questions, where he acknowledged an error of judgment, and apologised.
“It’s clear now that Sinn Féin wasn’t interested in any of that. Instead, when the Irish Government is grappling with the twin threats of Covid and Brexit, Sinn Féin is only interested in playing politics of the lowest kind instead of coming forward with genuine proposals to respond to these unprecedented challenges.
“There can be no doubt that Sinn Féin’s only interest is to deflect attention away from its unanswered questions in Northern Ireland.”