A heated exchange erupted in Dáíl Éireann yesterday over comments from An Taoiseach on the funding of Sinn Féin’s office in Donegal.
Claims from Micheál Martin sparked a furious outburst from Donegal Deputy Pearse Doherty and calls for clarification.
The Taoiseach was defending ministerial pay rises when he made a serious allegation about the funding of the Sinn Féin constituency in Letterkenny, which was opened in 2017.
“Your constituency office is well financed ….,” the Taoiseach said, as the audio cut off.
The Taoiseach’s comment came in reference to wealthier parties with external sources of funding. Deputy Doherty interpreted his comment as suggesting that the office was funded through America. Irish political fundraising law states that foreign donations of any value cannot be accepted unless they are from an Irish citizen.
Doherty made a call of out of order from the Ceann Comhairle for protection in the Dáil chamber.
The Taoiseach replied that he made no allegation of illegality over support: “It was publicly stated, on the record, people thanked the beneficiaries who helped them develop office and so on.”
Mr Martin said he accepted Deputy Doherty’s clarification.