Thursday, 19 January 2023
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Pearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
Just like the Minister, the Tánaiste did not answer any of my questions. There is a bit of a pattern here. Let us be clear about this. Deputy Donohoe is the Minister who oversees the SIPO legislation. SIPO has been begging for additional powers and the Minister has refused those on a number of occasions. The matter is serious. There was a donation. In fairness, the Fianna Fáil candidate disclosed how much it cost to put up election posters in the same constituency in the same election. It was €4,920. A businessman offered that service to the Minister, Deputy Donohoe, who did not declare any donation above €600. Whether the donation is in hard cash or a donation in kind, it has to be declared. It is unlawful to accept a donation above €1,000.
That is what the core allegations here are.
The problem the Minister has is that, when it was pointed out that at least the van was used in 2017, he did not do anything about it. He was overseeing this legislation, yet did not do anything about it. Last year, when a number of journalists put these questions to him, he stated he had carried out a review and everything was in order. What we need is accountability, the same accountability the Taoiseach had when he was subject to a Garda investigation and a SIPO investigation. The Minister needs to come before the House and answer questions. Will the Tánaiste facilitate that and facilitate the Opposition in putting questions to the Minister and getting answers? Has he asked the Minister about any of these matters, such as whether Michael Stone paid for the erection of posters for the Minister during his campaign in 2020?