Pascal Donohoe Confirms Breach Of Election Rules

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Fine Gael - Minister Pascal Donohoe

Minister Paschal Donohoe will refund some money donated to his election team under Standards in Public Office rules.

The Minister for Public Expenditure had admitted the use of vans worth more than €400 in 2020 election exceeded corporate donation limits.

Mr Donohoe says he is now aware that an unauthorised corporate donation of €434.20 was unknowingly received by Fine Gael Dublin Central.

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He’s said he will refund the difference to the Designer Group, run by businessman Michael Stone.

Mr Donohoe said he is now aware that an unauthorised corporate donation of €434.20 was unknowingly received by Fine Gael Dublin Central.

Despite my best efforts in recent weeks to ensure the fullest account of the support given in both 2016 and 2020 was accurate, an amendment will now be made to my 2020 General Election expenses form to reflect the new information to the amount of €864 for labour and €392.20 for vehicles for support received during the election period.”

This was in the form of the use of vehicles, the commercial value of which exceeded the maximum allowable donation limit of €200. SIPO have been notified of this breach and €234.20, the amount received in excess of the allowable limit, will be refunded to the Designer Group,” he said.

Minister Donohoe says he was not fully aware of how every poster “in my election campaign was put up, who did it and how and I did not know how that activity was being accounted for”.

Donohoe added that help to be on a voluntary basis and didn’t ask further questions adding “and I clearly should have”.

Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall says the minister’s response has been to make “a complete hames of this” and that this is “a charitable reading of the situation”.

Concluding his statement, Mr Donohoe says that since Thursday, he has been working to ensure that the information regarding the 2020 General Election is completely accurate.

Mr Donohoe said neither he nor his team were aware of any payments to any individuals for the erection or removal of posters in either election at the time of filing election returns to SIPO.

The vast majority of my posters were erected and taken down on a voluntary basis. This was, we believed, to be the case with regard to the support given by Michael Stone,” he said.

At each point in this, having undertaken reviews designed to determine the full facts, we have always taken the appropriate steps to correct the record.

Mr Stone has said that his statement, and the information given to me, represents his best and fullest recollection of events. Therefore, further steps are now being taken to account for this new information that has come to light, as outlined.”

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald says the controversy surrounding Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe carries the “stench of cronyism and favours for insiders”.

McDonald references the statement put out by Michael Stone and says the theme of this controversy “It has been an exercise in concealment and cover-up from start to finish.

McDonald says Minister’s Donohoe’s credibility “now lies in tatters”. “He has chosen concealment and cover-up again and again and at every turn the truth had to be dragged out of him,” she adds.