Donohoe Has to go, Cronyism, and Alleged Corruption here, Barry Cown, got Fucking Shafted, for Sweet Fuck all, and Martin, still Backs up, Pascal the Parrot?

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Businessman who paid for Paschal Donohoe’s election posters to be erected was appointed to powerful land agency• Yesterday 16:29

Engineering firm chief executive Michael Stone was appointed to the board of the powerful Land Development Agency (LDA) three years after he paid for Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe’s posters to be erected during the 2016 General Election campaign.

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Paschal Donohoe apologises for not declaring election expensesUnmute

Unlike some members of the board, Mr Stone was directly appointed to the LDA by then Housing Minister 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 Minister can appoint four.

Board members are paid fees of €15,759 plus expenses but Mr Stone has waived his fee and not claimed expenses.

An LDA spokesperson confirmed the successful engineering firm boss was appointed to the interim board of the agency when it was first established in January 2019.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien reappointed him to the board when the agency, responsible for creating massive land banks for development of new homes and communities, was formally set-up in December 2021.

“In line with other state agencies, members of the LDA board can receive remuneration and can claim certain travel and subsistence expenses,” the spokesperson said.

“Mr Stone has waived his remuneration fee since the outset of his involvement with the Agency and does not claim expenses,” he added.

Mr Stone also chairs the North East Inner City Initiative, set up in 2016, to oversee the social and economic regeneration of the area, which is in Mr Donohoe’s constituency.

It emerged over the weekend Mr Donohoe is under investigation by the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) over his failure to declare work carried out on his campaign that was paid for by Mr Stone.

At press conference on Sunday, the minister said he did not know Mr Stone paid to have his election posters erected and taken down during the 2016 campaign.

He apologised for the controversy around his election expenses and said he will recuse himself from any decision making around ethics legislation while 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 address questions from the Sunday Independent over the last two months.

He admitted Mr Stone paid six people €1,100 people to hang posters during the election campaign and take them down after the vote. He also confirmed a Designer Group company van was used by those putting up the posters.

Mr Donohoe previously claimed his constituency office reviewed all this election expenses and found they had been declared appropriately.

He filed a new declaration with Sipo taking into account the working paid for by Mr Stone.

The minister has faced calls from the Opposition to make a further statement on the controversy and he has said he will participate in debate in the Oireachtas on the matter.

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