Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald did receive direct donation from Jonathan Dowdall, says party colleague
Story by Allison Bray • Tuesday
Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall did make a donation to party leader Mary Lou McDonald directly and not to her constituency office as she has claimed, a party colleague has said.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: PA© Provided by Independent.ie
Appearing on RTÉ’s Prime Time to discuss the controversy over Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohue’s election expenses, Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Fingal Louise O’Reilly said: “The donation was a political donation, it was made to Mary Lou and it was recorded as such. I’m saying now it was recorded with Sipo (Standards in Public Office Commission).”
Dowdall was jailed for four years last month for his part in the 2016 Regency Hotel attack.
In 2018, he and his father were jailed for waterboarding a man they suspected of trying to defraud them at Dowdall’s family home in January 2015. He was a Sinn Féin councillor at the time after being elected to Dublin City Council in 2014.
Ms O’Reilly’s remark about the €1,000 donation to Ms McDonald directly contradicts claims the Sinn Féin leader made in an interview on Newstalk Radio in November that Dowdall made the donation to her Dublin Central constituency office and not to herself.
Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney, who also appeared on Prime Time to defend his Fine Gael colleague, said: “Last week Louise said this was a donation made to Sinn Féin, on (RTÉ Radio’s) Morning Ireland. And now she has a different story.”
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Asked by host Sarah McInerney “why has the story changed?” Ms O’Reilly replied: “Okay, so it was a political donation to Mary Lou and that is how it’s recorded on Sipo.”
She did not say why the narrative over the donation to Ms McDonald in 2011 has now changed.
The development comes after the Sunday Independent revealed that Dowdall made further donations to Sinn Féin by purchasing tickets for party fundraisers.
A source told it that Dowdall purchased a table at a private fundraiser for Ms McDonald and her constituency organisation in Dublin Central in the Gresham Hotel on O’Connell Street in July 2013.
The source suggested that tickets for such events could have cost between €50 and €100 per person, meaning a table would have cost between €500 and €1,000.
A second source said Dowdall “always bought a table” at Sinn Féin fundraising events.
Speaking at an event earlier this evening, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar accused Sinn Féin of “hypocrisy” in relation to election expenses.
“We know for example, that there’s discrepancy in their party leader’s political donations, it’s not clear whether the €1,000 donation paid by former councillor John Dowdall was a personal donation which is what the records say, or whether it was a party political donation, which is what they are now claiming. So I think there’s a huge amount of hypocrisy there.”