“Ministers McGrath, Donnelly and O’Brien must correct Parliamentary Record regarding previous denial of Michael Stone Company contracts” – Tóibín

The Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD has today called on the Ministers for Health, Housing and Finance to correct the record after previously saying that their Departments had not awarded contracts to The Design Group, a mechanical and electrical engineering business owned by Michael Stone, whose undeclared donations to Minister Paschal Donohue in the 2016 general election caused a scandal in recent months. 

Last month Deputy Tóibín asked a parliamentary question of every government Minister seeking to know if they had awarded any contracts to Mr Stone’s companies since his donations of labour and vehicles in the 2016 election campaign. All Ministers wrote back to the Aontú leader saying that their departments hadn’t awarded contracts. However, the Sunday Independent is today reporting that the company received €68 million in State contracts over the past five years, including a €98,535 contract to provide maintenance work the Department of Health headquarters, €9,620 for work at the Department of Finance and €8,727 for electrical work at the Department of Housing.

Speaking, the Aontú leader Deputy Tóibín, said:

“This is an extremely serious matter which sheds a completely different light on the entire scandal – now we know that after Mr Stone made donations of vans and labour to Paschal Donohue’s election campaign, which Deputy Donohue did not appropriately declare, Mr Stone was awarded a series of state contracts by the Fine Gael government”.

Deputy Tóibín continued: “There are questions to be answered here. Many members of the public looking at this scandal will be drawing their own conclusions, thinkin to themselves “€68 million in government contracts wasn’t a bad return for a couple of grand to help get Donohue elected”. Aontú is calling on the Minister’s for Health, Housing, Finance and Minister Donohue himself to make clarifying statements on this topic in the Dáil this week, and we will be writing to the Dáil Business committee to request speaking time be set aside”.

“The fact that, just a few weeks ago, three Ministers responded to my parliamentary questions to deny that their departments awarded contracts, warrants scrutiny. Why did they tell me so clearly in writing that they had not awarded any contracts to any of the companies listed? There is a sense that they were all singing off the same page. The fact is that their responses to me were untrue and false, as exposed in the media today. In other countries lying on the parliamentary record is considered a resignation matter – but we’re well used to it in Leinster House. I cannot let this slide and I will be seeking a correction of the record in relation to this, and will be asking some very serious questions of the government on this matter”, concluded Tóibín.

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