C: D Storan

Sinn Féin under investigation after €180k cash purchase

The Standards in Public Office (SIPO) ethics watchdog is investigating whether Sinn Féin used funds raised abroad to purchase a Donegal constituency office with €180,000 in cash.

The Sinn Féin office in Letterkenny was purchased in 2016 by a supporter-operated company called “Donegal Office Services”, and is used by the county’s two Sinn Féin TDs Pearse Doherty and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.

Mac Lochlainn is alleged to have implied after the formal opening of the office that funds from Ireland, the US and Australia were used to purchase the building.

“We’ve worked for a long, long time, for over a decade. You had not just Donegal people here but also abroad in Australia and in America, and it’s a dream that we’ve had for a long time,” he told Highland Radio.

If money from abroad was used, the purchase would be in violation of Irish political fundraising laws, which prohibit the use of foreign donations in such circumstances.

Two separate meetings of the board of SIPO decided the issue would “require further examination” following a complaint from a Fianna Fáil activist in Wicklow.

Sinn Féin deny any wrongdoing in the purchase of the renamed Eddie Fullerton/Bobby Sands centre, with Pearse Doherty previously branding the Taoiseach’s claims of illegality “scurrilous”.

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