A Fine Gael Minister has called for full accountability from Sinn Féin after the party failed horrendously at their third attempt to explain their unique 2019 local elections expenditure declaration.
Minister Martin Heydon said the explanations coming from Sinn Féin representatives to explain their party’s €4,775 declared spend on 230 candidates – an average of €21 a candidate – filed to Dublin City Council is staggering in its inaccuracies.
In the latest misstep in Sinn Féin’s ambiguous financial declarations, Sinn Féin Meath East TD Darren O’Rourke twice told RTÉ’s Late Debate this week that party candidates declared their expenses to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO).
“This is completely wrong and false,” Minister Heydon said.
“The Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act legislation requires that all local election candidates – elected or not – file all their expenses to the relevant local authority.
“Sinn Féin have been avoiding and refusing to answer a series of financial miscalculations, unpaid bills, and inaccurate statutory declarations for the last seven weeks.
“They have now made three errors, in the last fortnight, every time they tried to unsuccessfully explain their 2019 local elections expenditure, declarations and accounts.
“Last month, Sinn Féin told a newspaper that the party HQ’s expenditure on the 2019 local elections was included with their European Election expenses and filed with SIPO.
“This is completely wrong. The party spend must be filed with the relevant local authority – Dublin City Council – as all other parties did.
“This week they told the Irish Independent that local areas pay for their own local election campaigns contradicting their previous claim.
“And in the first debate on the issue this week, Deputy Darren O’Rourke, who was sent out to shut down the issue, incorrectly claimed twice on RTE’s Late Debate that local election candidates return their expenses to SIPO.
‘It’s available through SIPO, yeah the returns to SIPO, the same as a General Election,’ Deputy O’Rourke said on air.
Minister Heydon said today, “Considering he contested and won a seat at the 2019 local elections, Deputy O’Rourke should know that all local candidates filed their returns to the relevant local authority. Another terrible attempt by Sinn Féin to clear up the latest episode in their secret financial affairs.
“The law is that local election spending is filed with local authorities and it’s against the law that it would be any other way.
“It’s time for this to be investigated.
“Sinn Féin are dodging debate on their financial affairs, they won’t accept being held accountable to the Dáil, they won’t debate the issue on the airwaves for the last two months and they are trying to hide in a desperate bid to make their financial mess disappear.
“It’s time for full disclosure on all these ongoing serious issues from Mary Lou McDonald and her party treasurer, Pearse Doherty,” Minister Heydon said.