Mary Lou McDonald said she accepted the resignations of the three individuals responsible for the accounts and for not returning the money
The Sinn Féin leader has said Senator Elisha McCallion and two officials in Northern Ireland have resigned after revelations that three party offices incorrectly received payments from a Covid-19 grant scheme.
The others who have resigned are the Chair of Upper Bann Comhairle Ceantair and a party official in West Tyrone."The failure to immediately return grants erroneously paid into Sinn Féin accounts is a most serious situation," Ms McDonald said.
"As party leader I wish to acknowledge and apologise for these failures."In a statement, Ms McCallion apologised and said she had not applied for the grant and did not receive any correspondence about it from the Department of the Economy."I fully accept that as a named signature on the account that I should have taken steps to verify this situation, before it was brought to my attention on Monday," she said.
"The money was repaid in full on Tuesday."I apologise unreservedly for the poor judgement I showed in relation to this and therefore, last night I spoke to the party leader and tendered my resignation as a member of Seanad Éireann with immediate effect."
The resignation of Ms McCallion will lead to a Seanad by-election.The seat is unlikely to be held by Sinn Féin as the electorate is made up of Oireachtas members.It will be the second looming by-election as one must also be held for the seat vacated by former Fine Gael Senator Michael D'Arcy.
Read moreSinn Féin returns 'unsolicited' NI Covid relief payments These public monies should have been returned immediately as no political offices qualified for this grant. The fact that this did not happen is unacceptable.We view this very seriously and have taken decisive action. https://t.co/hBmxjosh0w
— Michelle O'Neill (@moneillsf) October 29, 2020 Ms McCallion had been the MP for Foyle from June 2017 to December 2019, when she lost the seat to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.In a statement, Ms McDonald said the party leadership had established that three party offices incorrectly received lodgements of £10,000 under the Small Business Grant scheme established by the UK Department of Economy in March 2020.
The grants were not applied for, but were automatically paid to businesses that paid annual rates of up to £15,000 by direct debit."Payments were made into constituency accounts in West Tyrone and Lurgan and into Elisha McCallion's account in respect of her former Westminster office," Ms McDonald said.
"In each case the grant money has been returned in full, repayments were made on Monday and Tuesday of this week."These monies should have been returned immediately as no political offices qualified for this grant. The fact that this did not happen is unacceptable.
"The party has established in each case where responsibility lay for the administration of the accounts in question and for the reimbursement of these monies."The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle met last night and censured all those involved."Last night, I accepted the resignation of Senator Elisha McCallion. She accepts full responsibility for the failure to return the grant immediately.
"The party also accepted the resignation of the party official in West Tyrone who had responsibility for the administration of the account and failed to promptly return the grant money despite being requested to do so by Maolíosa McHugh MLA.
"The Cathaoirleach (chairperson) of the Upper Bann Comhairle Ceantair (Constituency Organisation) has also tendered his resignation in recognition of their failure to return the grant payment in a timely fashion."The Small Business Grant scheme was established to support struggling businesses in times of extraordinary hardship.
"The failure to immediately return grants erroneously paid into Sinn Féin accounts is a most serious situation." Read more: RTÉ News »
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This is more of the same shit. Everyone is screaming for transparency and some fucking honesty from elected officials and then finally the electorate voted for change only for SF to sit back and waltz into opposition and show us all they are the fucking same.There’s no hope lads Money that should have been with workers and families. If the shoe was on the other foot.
'accepted the resignations'...I'd say the boys in Belfast made them an offer they couldn't refuse. Tiocfaidh ár pá How do they always get the chance to resign instead of be fired? It'd be great now if all of Sinn Féin resigned due to their link to the IRA. A link they've always denied, they're a party that cannot be taken seriously until they address their link to the IRA.
Is Mary Lou’s position tenable as leader now? They're lucky they weren't disappeared And all the Irish people who fell for the populist rhetoric that they are somehow “the people’s party!” 😂 She needs to go as well Mary Lou MacDonald And The Covid-19 Vaccine Connection Lead by example, unlike other parties in power
Clear and speedy resolution of this. A few parties need to take note that sealing records for decades and the cover ups aren’t acceptable anymore. Hang on, she only paid it back on Tuesday ? have any southern politicians received covid business payments/grants? can of worms there I tell you She will be put forward for Mayor of Belfast next.
10,000 grand? That'd buy a few AK47's! 😂 Oooooh PearseDoherty davidcullinane disgraceful. Maybe get your own party in line first No drawn out investigation, no shielding or deflection, no cover up, no whataboutery.... just swiftly removed from the party. Refreshing! Sinn Fein involved in shady dealings, well I never 😂
Good on SF no fucking about 👏👏 Quality. Looking forward to the comments here now. They are all the same. All talk and then take the money till they get found out.
Three Sinn Féin members resign over Covid-19 business grants controversyThree members of Sinn Féin have resigned following the controversy over the £30,000 (€33,000) worth of Covid-19 business grants the party incorrectly received in Northern Ireland. Were 'resigned' more like. A few sacrificial underlings ought to put out this fire eh? Not surprising as most sinn fein idiots can't count
Northern Ireland Covid-19 relief funds paid to accounts of three Sinn Féin officesNorthern Ireland Covid-19 relief funds paid to accounts of three Sinn Féin offices
Sinn Féin returns 'unsolicited' Covid relief paymentsA £10,000 payment was sent to any firm in receipt of small business rates relief in Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin said the unsolicited money - paid automatically to three of its offices - has since been paid back. End of story. A non-story The farce of SF continues
Three Sinn Fein members resign over Covid-19 grant paymentsThe Sinn Féin leadership established that three party offices incorrectly received money under the Small Business Grant scheme
Three Sinn Féin members resign after failing to return wrongly received NI grant moneySenator Elisha McCallion was one of the three members to resign. Shinners I beat em with me crutch! Accountability, rare in Irish politics.
Sinn Féin claims plan for Land Development Agency has 'fundamental problems'Key concerns flagged in 2019 scheme remain, says Eoin Ó Broin I'd say FF FG and the Greens have much more fundamental problems at the moment. And nobody better at finding 'fundamental problems' , solving them no.