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Sinn Féin’s mismanagement of financial returns and declarations needs accountability – Kyne

23rd February 2023 - Senator Sean Kyne

Sinn Féin’s mismanagement of their finances and inconsistencies in their spending declarations require clear explanations from their party leader Mary Lou McDonald and national treasurer Pearse Doherty, Fine Gael Senator Sean Kyne has said.


The Standards in Public Offices Commission (SIPO) is investigating Sinn Féin on a series of fronts following wide ranging inconsistencies and contradictions in the party’s financial statements and electoral spending returns.


Senator Kyne said: “It is vital that all political parties follow the rules relating to election spending, relating to donations and especially the rules regarding the recording of proper and accurate accounts.


“There have been a series of troubling and worrying revelations recently regarding Sinn Féin’s party accounts and statutory declarations, signed off by party treasurer Deputy Pearse Doherty.


“Deputy Doherty told RTÉ’s Prime Time on Tuesday night they are not being investigated by SIPO. Today’s Irish Times makes clear SIPO are examining Sinn Féin’s contradictions and anomalies in the party accounts and its electoral spending declarations. It has been repeatedly discussed at several meetings of the Commission.


“Once again, Sinn Féin tries to mislead the public only for the truth to emerge less than two days later. We need to hear clear explanations and statements from Deputies McDonald and Doherty on this ongoing saga concerning their party’s finances,” Senator Kyne said.


Sinn Féin received over €1.5 million euro of taxpayers’ money in 2021 – the largest amount of any party or group in the country. The public has a right to know that this funding is spent within the rules and that it is properly and accurately accounted for.


“The party failed to disclose expenses relating to the 2016 General Election and failed to provide full and accurate returns to SIPO for the 2020 General Election. They have now had to amend their returns several times at this stage. They also provided incomplete and inaccurate accounts to SIPO for 2021.


“These are very serious matters, which relate to trust, transparency and openness in our political system, in addition to confidence that the public must have in those who receive millions of euro in public money.


“We know that Sinn Fein is the richest political party in terms of property assets and cash donations – from a range of sources and uses the border as a financial asset.


“The more we learn about their financial management – stiffing businesses and declarations that need to be withdrawn and amended – the more questions arise as to their inability to file correct disclosures to SIPO, as well as leaving bills unpaid related to their election expenditure.


“Reform of the Ethics in Public Office legislation is currently underway in line with a commitment in the Programme for Government to ensure we have a robust and effective system of public governance in place.


“As part of that, we must ensure SIPO is given greater enforcement and sanctioning powers for individuals or groups found to be in breach of the legislation.


“Every party must comply with the law and rules around fundraising, donations and expenses, and Sinn Féin is no exception to the rule,” Senator Kyne said.


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