Sinn Féin admits it didn’t disclose the cost of six campaign events due to disputes over unpaid bills

Sinn Féin was forced to disclose more than €2,000 in undeclared voting expenses related to the 2016 general election.

The party will now submit another amendment following the election declaration of the Commission for Public Offices (Sipo). Irish Independent revealed they had failed to pay a bill for renting a venue seven years ago.

Mary Lou McDonald’s Party today finally paid the Royal Irish Academy to use their venue during their election campaign after details of the unpaid bill were released.

Ms McDonald and Sinn Féin Deputy Chairman Pearse Doherty have led the charge by criticizing Public Expenditure Secretary Paschal Donohoe for his failure to properly declare campaign donations from businessman Michael Stone.

However, it has emerged that they made significant errors in their own party election declarations for the same campaign that sparked controversy for Mr Donohoe.

In an unprecedented move, the party released details of its expenditure on venue rentals after failing to detail any of the expenditure in its official filings with the Sipo.

After initially ignoring requests from the Irish Independent on their election spending, the Sinn Féin press office explained how they must now contact the Sipo to make them aware that the €2,160.70 is missing from their statement.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said the party held 23 press events during the 2016 general election campaign, most of which took place at the party’s headquarters or in “outdoor public spaces”.

However, the spokesman also admitted that six press conferences were held at other indoor locations that “should have been factored into our election return seven years ago”. “We regret that this was not the case,” he added.

He said the total value of renting these venues is €2,160.70.

“All these bills – except for one – were paid at the time. The balance of the bill is now paid,” he added.

The unpaid bill related to two events at the Royal Irish Academy. It was only paid after it was made aware that Sinn Féin had not paid to use the venue seven years earlier.

“Our election declaration will be changed accordingly and sent back to the Sipo. The maximum amount that Sinn Féin was allowed to spend in the 2016 general election campaign under Sipo rules was €229,000 nationally. Even adding in those bills, Sinn Féin’s election costs were less than a third of that amount,” the spokesman added.

The party said they spent €360 to rent the Westin Hotel, €397 for the Wynns Hotel, €600 for two events at the Royal Irish Academy, €250 for the Gresham Hotel and €553 for the National Gallery.

“All bills except that for the Royal Irish Academy were paid at the time. The bill in relation to the Royal Irish Academy has now been paid,” the spokesman said. Sinn Féin admits it didn’t disclose the cost of six campaign events due to disputes over unpaid bills

Fry Electronics Team

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