Friday 17 November 2017

Keaveney accuses watchdog of being 'unprofessional'

Colm Keaveney
Colm Keaveney

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

LABOUR rebel Colm Keaveney has accused the Dail standards watchdog of being "grossly unprofessional" after he was listed as being the one TD or senator who did not file an annual return of political donations.

Mr Keaveney, a TD for Galway East, said he posted his return for 2012 to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) in time for the deadline of January 31.

Mr Keaveney said he had nothing to declare anyway, but insisted he sent other documentation to SIPO in the same envelope as the donations material. SIPO received this other information, he claimed, but not his donation statement.

"I posted my return to SIPO in January. I am fortunate that this was witnessed by a third party," Mr Keaveney told the watchdog in an email yesterday.

"I am alarmed that it is now through the media that I learn that my return was not received rather than from SIPO directly.

"This strikes me as being grossly unprofessional of SIPO as it may lead to the damage of my good name and character.

"If it transpires that my return was received by SIPO, and that an error has been made in not processing it, then I will be seeking a public apology both from SIPO and from you personally on this matter," he told a civil servant in the organisation's Dublin HQ.

SIPO was not available for comment last night.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams did not declare his business-class flights to New York last year, paid for by the party's US support group Friends of Sinn Fein.

Neither did he declare the fact that a medical procedure in New York had been paid for by Irish American multi-millionaire Bill Flynn at an estimated cost of $30,000 (€22,400), but Sinn Fein insists this is in compliance with the rules for TDs on declaring gifts and travel facilities.

Only three members of the Oireachtas declared donations for 2012: Fine Gael senator Fidelma Healy-Eames, Sinn Fein's Mary-Lou McDonald and Independent Stephen Donnelly.

Irish Independent

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