A businessman who paid to put up Paschal Donohoe’s campaign posters was appointed to a powerful land agency
Michael Stone, the engineering firm’s chief executive, was appointed to the board of the powerful Land Development Agency (LDA) three years after he paid for Secretary of State Paschal Donohoe’s posters to be put up during the 2016 general election campaign .
Unlike some board members, Mr Stone was appointed directly to the LDA by then Housing Secretary Eoghan Murphy, who is a former Fine Gael colleague of Mr Donohoe.
Other members of the LDA board are appointed through the public appointment services system, but the Housing Secretary can appoint four.
Directors receive fees of €15,759 plus expenses, but Mr. Stone has waived his fee and has not claimed any expenses.
An LDA spokesman confirmed that the engineering firm’s successful head was appointed to the agency’s interim board when it was founded in January 2019.
Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien reappointed him to the board when the agency responsible for creating massive land banks for new home and community development was formally set up in December 2021.
“In accordance with other government agencies, members of the LDA Board of Directors may receive compensation and claim certain travel and subsistence expenses,” the spokesman said.
“Mr. Stone has waived his compensation and is not claiming out-of-pocket expenses since joining the agency,” he added.
Mr. Stone also chairs the North East Inner City Initiative, which was formed in 2016 to oversee the social and economic revitalization of the area that sits in Mr. Donohoe’s constituency.
Over the weekend it emerged that Mr Donohoe is under investigation by the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) for his failure to declare Mr Stone’s paid work on his campaign.
At a news conference on Sunday, the minister said he was unaware that Mr Stone paid to have his campaign posters put up and taken down during the 2016 election campaign.
He apologized for the controversy surrounding his election spending and said he would withdraw from any decision-making on ethics laws while the Sipo investigates him.
However, he refused to resign as minister during the investigation.
Mr Donohoe broke his silence on the controversy after failing to fully answer questions from the Sunday Independent for the past two months.
He admitted Mr Stone had paid six people €1,100 to put up posters during the campaign and take them down after the vote. He also confirmed that a Designer Group company car was used by the poster setters.
Mr Donohoe previously claimed his constituency office reviewed all of these election expenses and found that they were properly declared.
He filed a new statement with the Sipo, taking into account the work paid for by Mr Stone.
The minister was urged by the opposition to make a further statement on the controversy and said he would attend the Oireachtas debate on the issue.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/businessman-who-paid-for-paschal-donohoes-election-posters-to-be-erected-was-appointed-to-powerful-land-agency-42290582.html A businessman who paid to put up Paschal Donohoe’s campaign posters was appointed to a powerful land agency