SIPO must follow the money

Pearse Doherty: underinvestigation. Image via Flickr/Sinn Féin

Following yesterday’s report in the Irish Independent about Sinn Féin’s use of expenses to pay for party workers, both SIPO and the Oireachtas Commission are looking at the party’s finances.

Readers will recall I probed the issue on several occasions last Autumn, starting with the Average Wage Question. SIPO didn’t see any reason to act at that time, although it appears they did act when the Mail on Sunday reported on TD Sandra McLennan‘s finance two weeks ago.

It appears the latest inquiries are narrowly focused on the two Donegal TDs, Pearse Doherty and Padraig MacLochlainn.

This is unnecessarily restrictive.

As I’ve pointed out before, claims about their “average wage” are commonplace for Sinn Féin representatives, despite the dearth of declarations to SIPO.

Senator David Cullinane tweeted that his excess over €530 weekly went “into the local constituency employing people who work for the party“, and in response to questions, the Sinn Féin Press Office told me “some TDs donate to the party the allowable amount. The balance is spent on enhancing their constituency services.”

Given the paucity of declared donations to SIPO, the suggests a lot of spending “on enhancing their constituency services.”

SIPO needs to expand its inquiry.

Pearse Doherty: under investigation. Image via Flickr/Sinn Féin

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.