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SF run up new x19k ink bill

SINN Fein were dipping their fingers in the ink cartridges north of the border as well as in the Dail, it has emerged.

The party has been caught out again after it emerged that the MLA Pat Doherty ran up a larger ink bill than any of his colleagues.

The fresh controversy follows revelations that Dublin TD Aengus O Snodaigh stung taxpayers in the Republic with a €50,000 toner bill.

Today the party faced new embarrassment when it was revealed that Mr Doherty hit Northern Ireland residents for a bill totalling £16,000 (€19,400) over the past two and a half years.

The revelation will raise more questions about why Sinn Fein representatives need more ink than their counterparts. West Tyrone member Doherty bought 185 cartridges over the period, with the bill for one year -- for 93 top-of-the-range cartridges -- costing £11,726.

Sinn Fein admitted today that the bill needed to be reduced.

A league table on the use of printer toner compiled by the Irish News has named the top 20 ink users, with Sinn Fein members filling nine of the 20 spots. First minister Peter Robinson comes in at 13th place, though his deputy Martin McGuinness doesn't appear in the list.

In total, Assembly members have gone through nearly £250,000 (¤302,000) worth of printer toner in under three years, with Sinn Fein topping the party groups, while the SDLP next highest -- but with fewer representatives.

O Snodaigh got 488 print cartridges from the Dail stationary room -- worth an average of €130 each.

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