Sinn Fein admits failing to declare expenses related to 2016 general election

Sinn Fein has revealed it failed to declare a series of expenses related to the hosting of press conferences during the 2016 general election campaign.

he undeclared expenses were for the hire of five indoor venues in Dublin, one of which was used twice, that totalled 2,160.70 euro.

The party said the amounts should have been included in its return to the Standards in Public Office commission (Sipo). It expressed regret for the omissions.

The disclosure from the main Opposition party comes amid a controversy around Fine Gael Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe over undeclared expenses related to both the 2016 and 2020 election campaign.


Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe (Grainne Ni Aodha/PA)

Mr Donohoe has apologised for the failure to declare expenses related to postering work that was financed by the businessman Michael Stone and has amended his returns to Sipo. The minister said he wrongly assumed the postering had been done on a voluntary basis.

Sinn Fein said its total spend for the 2016 election campaign, even with the undeclared amount added on, was still less than a third of the allowable limit for the party.

The sums involved for hiring the venues were 360 euro for the Westin Hotel, 397.20 euro for Wynns Hotel, 600 for hiring the Royal Irish Academy twice, 250 euro for the Gresham Hotel and 553.50 euro for the National Gallery.

The party said while four of the venues were paid at the time, it conceded that the Royal Irish Academy was not. Sinn Fein said that invoice has now been settled.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “Sinn Fein held 23 press events during the 2016 general election campaign.

“The vast majority of these were held at party headquarters or in outdoor public spaces. However, six press conferences were held at other indoor venues. Their use should have been included in our election return seven years ago. We regret that they were not.

“The total value of the hire of these venues was 2,160.70 euro. All these invoices – bar one – were paid at the time. The remaining invoice has now been paid. Our election return will be amended as appropriate and returned to Sipo.

“The maximum amount permitted to be spent by Sinn Fein in the 2016 general election campaign, per Sipo rules, was 229,000 euro at a national level.

“Even with the addition of these invoices, Sinn Fein’s election expenses were less than a third of this amount.”


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