Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has described Minister Paschal Donohoe’s explanation for breaching rules relating to donations and electoral expenses as ‘simply not credible.’
“Paschal Donohoe has provided an explanation for breaching rules governing donations and electoral expenses this evening that does not stack up and is simply not credible.
“He stated that he became aware of this issue in November when he the media queried the matter. At that point, he provided the media with false information stating that there was nothing to see here. We now know that was not true.
“It could not have taken Paschal Donohoe three months to contact a friend of his to ascertain the facts surrounding this matter.
“It is not credible that he did not know that a company was carrying out campaign work on his behalf, and that this was not a declarable donation or that he was required to set this out as an election expense. It is also not credible that this is not a corporate donation.
“The only reason it appears he has now broken his silence on this issue is because SIPO wrote to him on Friday.
“It will not be lost on people that Paschal Donohoe, as Minister with responsibility for SIPO, rejected two reports by SIPO requesting additional powers. That he can plead ignorance of his statutory responsibilities as an election candidate, given his then role as line Minister, is equally baffling.
“There are possible implications relating not only to the Electoral Act, but also the Ethics Act.
“It is incumbent on Paschal Donohoe to make a comprehensive statement on this matter setting out what he knew and when, because the explanation provided this evening simply does not stack up.”