Senior Coalition figures continue to express confidence in Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe to make a fresh Dáil statement in effort to draw a line under the election expenses controversy

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin have both expressed confidence in Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe as the controversy continues over his election expenses.

Both party leaders spoke to Mr Donohoe over the weekend ahead of his fresh Dáil statement and a questions and answers session with the Opposition on Tuesday aimed at drawing a line under the matter.

Mr Donohoe is expected to offer new details of an issue relating to the 2020 election. However, he did not publicly offer any new details on his election expenses over the weekend.

A spokeswoman said: “The Minister takes all issues under consideration seriously and will deal with matters in the House on Tuesday.”


Mr Varadkar spoke to his Fine Gael colleague on Saturday and said on Sunday night: “I believe him and am satisfied with his explanation. I have full confidence in him.”

Mr Martin, the Fianna Fáil leader, told RTÉ Radio he was “satisfied” with what he heard from Mr Donohoe and confirmed he had confidence in the Dublin Central TD to stay in his job.

A complaint has been made to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) over Mr Donohoe’s failure to make declarations related to his 2016 election posters.

Mr Donohoe has been under intense pressure from the Opposition who insist questions remain after his Dáil statement last Wednesday, particularly surrounding whether or not he needs to amend his Sipo declarations for the 2020 election.

There were reports over the weekend that a new issue related to his 2020 disclosure was not as significant as the omission of a donation in 2016 worth a total of €1,240 from Michael Stone. The businessman provided six workers and the use of a van to erect election posters in the Dublin Central constituency during the 2016 campaign.

Opposition politicians have questioned the sums disclosed, arguing the cost of the work would have been higher.

Green Party Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman told Newstalk on Sunday that Mr Donohoe would be answering questions on his 2020 election returns in the Dáil and it would be “the opportunity to put an end to this particular matter”.

He said he had not been briefed on what Mr Donohoe might say but he had “full confidence” in the Fine Gael TD in relation to what he had said so far.

On The Week in Politics Opposition TDs disputed an assertion by Government Chief Whip, Fine Gael’s Hildegarde Naughton, that Mr Donohoe has been “completely open and transparent”.

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy again raised questions over the value put on the donation that helped pay for the erection of posters in the 2016 election.

Jennifer Whitmore of the Social Democrats said that if Mr Donohoe was being transparent, he would have responded to questions in the Dáil last week.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times