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Tuesday 28 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Sam Boal

Tánaiste says that Paschal Donohoe should not resign over election donations controversy

Donhoe’s situation was likened to ministers who had resigned in the past, however Martin said that the government remains focused.

MICHEÁL MARTIN has stated that he is “satisfied” with Paschal Donohoe’s explanation over undeclared election donations and looks forward to hearing him address the Dáil on Tuesday.

Donohoe has faced scrutiny for the past week over an undeclared election donation from businessman Michael Stone, who paid for election posters of Donohoe to be erected in 2016 and bought Fine Gael ‘superdraw’ tickets from the minister in 2020 and 2021.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme, the Tánaiste said:

“He himself has decided to go back into the House, he made a decision last week. And he wants to give a comprehensive account to respond to questions that individual deputies may have.”

When asked if he had any questions to ask Donohoe, Martin answered:

“He spoke to me over the weekend. I’m satisfied with what he has said to me. In the context of he not being aware of what happened in terms of the erection of his posters, I am satisfied with that explanation.”

“I think he’s going to give really comprehensive account of all of that. And again, there has been, in my view, a misleading representation made by the opposition in respect of that point. And I think, again, it’s ultimately for SIPO to determine this.”


Martin was pushed by the show’s host Justin McCarthy on the possibility of Donohoe resigning in order to prevent the current controversy from distracting from his ministerial work.

“We’ve had controversies in the past, around Dara Calleary, around Frances Fitzgerald, around Alan Shatter, around Barry Cowen, although in each of those cases they were subsequently cleared afterwards, they did resign their positions,” McCarthy said.

“Should Paschal Donohoe do the same?” Martin was asked.

“No, he should not. In this instance the government has remained totally focused,” the Tánaiste replied.

“I think the idea that just because an issue arises and is debated in the House, and is disputed, that in itself isn’t the basis for resignation.”

Martin added that he had confidence in Donohoe who he believed had made a “significant contribution” to the government. 

Garda assault

Martin also condemned the serious assault of a Garda that took place during an arrest in Santry yesterday.

The Garda was hospitalised with severe injuries to his hand, while a man has been charged in connection with the incident.

“An Garda Síochána is the physical manifestation of the protection of our democracy. There will be stronger legislation to be debated in the House in a matter of weeks that would bring in much stronger mandatory sentencing for people who attack An Garda Síochána,” he said.

“The minister will engage with the representative bodies. And we certainly give very strong consideration in terms of the establishment of a taskforce in respect of assaults on An Garda Síochána.”

“And also assaults on other members of frontline services, including transport workers, bus drivers, and people working in our transport services, I do think we do need to reflect on that,” he added.

Martin was also asked about the continuation of cost of living supports and the reduced VAT rate on gas and electricity bills, which are due to expire at the end of March.

“We don’t anticipate a total cliff edge, we will give this serious consideration in the coming weeks,” the Tánaiste said, adding that the government also needed to plan for the autumn and winter.

“There is a strong likelihood, an unfortunate situation that the war is going to continue into Ukraine.” 

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