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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 24 January 2021

No proof of tax clearance provided by Fine Gael senator

Fine Gael has said it is treating Senator Pat O’Neill’s failure to provide tax clearance “with the utmost seriousness”.

Senator Pat O'Neill's page on the Fine Gael website
Senator Pat O'Neill's page on the Fine Gael website
Image: Screen grab via FineGael.ie

A FINE GAEL SENATOR may face suspension after failing to provide documents showing that his tax affairs are in order.

Senator Pat O’Neill is yet to furnish a tax clearance certificate after being elected to the Seanad in April 2011. He has also not provided an application statement showing that he has formally requested tax clearance, the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) said.

O’Neill now faces a possible suspension from the Seanad after SIPO submitted its report to the Committee on Members’ Interests. The Committee can also decide to impose a lesser censure, or simply note the report’s findings.

Fine Gael have this evening pledged a full investigation of the case of Senator O’Neill, who was elected to the Seanad by the Agricultural Panel of rural organisations after serving as a county councillor in Kilkenny.

He is now the Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on transport. The party said in a statement:

This is a matter that Fine Gael will investigate fully and deal with expeditiously. The party is treating this matter with the utmost seriousness.

All newly elected TDs and Senators must submit tax documents to SIPO within nine months of taking office, including a statutory declaration and either a tax clearance certificate or an application statement.

Senator O’Neill provided a statutory declaration three weeks after the nine-month deadline, but neither of the other two documents, SIPO said.

He was notified that he was under investigation and told that SIPO would consider any explanations he had. However, the commission said it had not received any reply.

SIPO’s report states that commission staff contacted Senator O’Neill’s office on six occasions after the nine-month deadline to request the tax clearance certificate or application statement.

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Michael Freeman

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