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Three Sinn Fein members resign over Covid-19 grant payments as Mary Lou McDonald issues statement

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Three Sinn Fein members resign over Covid-19 grant payments as Mary Lou McDonald issues statement

Three Sinn Fein party members have resigned after it was revealed three offices received payments from an emergency fund to support small businesses during the  Covid-19  pandemic.Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald© Getty Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald

Leader Mary Lou McDonald issued a statement on Thursday afternoon confirming she had received resignations of the three individuals responsible for these accounts and for not returning the money.

They have been named as Senator Elisha McCallion, the Chair of Upper Bann Comhairle Ceantair and a party official in West Tyrone – Belfast Live reports.

In her statement, the TD said on Monday and Tuesday, the Sinn Féin leadership established that three party offices incorrectly received money under the Small Business Grant scheme.

“Last night I accepted the resignations of the three individuals responsible for these accounts and for not returning the money – Senator Elisha McCallion, the Chair of Upper Bann Comhairle Ceantair and a party official in West Tyrone,” she said.

The failure to immediately return grants erroneously paid into Sinn Féin accounts is a most serious situation. As party leader I wish to acknowledge and apologise for these failures.”

Stormont’s Small Business Grant Scheme aimed to support small business in Northern Ireland at the beginning of the first lockdown in March.

MP and MLA constituency offices did not qualify for the fund.

Mrs McDonald said: “Over the course of Monday and Tuesday of this week, the Sinn Féin leadership established that three party offices incorrectly received lodgements of £10,000 under the Small Business Grant scheme established by the Department of Economy in March 2020.

“The payments were not applied for and were automatically received as part of the round of grant payments in late March/early April from the Land and Property Service.

“Payments were paid into constituency accounts in West Tyrone and Lurgan, and into Elisha McCallion’s account in respect of her former Westminster office.

“In each case the grant money has been returned.

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