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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 24 January, 2019

Sinn Féin has broken Dáil rules on party political broadcasts... AGAIN

It’s the second time in less than a year that the party has flouted long-standing rules about party political broadcasts at Leinster House

mary lou lh car park Source: Sinn Féin/YouTube

SINN FÉIN HAS again broken a long-standing rule that political parties are not allowed to use the grounds of Leinster Hosue for party political broadcasts.

In its party political broadcast for the UK elections, Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald is filmed speaking to the camera in the front car park of Leinster House, just to the left of the main entrance on Kildare Street.

The recording breaks a long-standing Houses of the Oireachtas rule that parties must not film political broadcasts on the grounds of Leinster House.

Mary Lou LH Source: Sinn Féin/YouTube

A spokesperson for Oireachtas authorities confirmed that “the filming of party political broadcasts would be in breach of the Oireachtas protocols”.

It’s the second time in a less than a year that Sinn Féin has broken this rule and it now looks set to be the subject of a complaint to the Dáil’s Committee on Procedures and Privileges (CPP).

Sinn Féin said the footage was shot at short notice, without going through its press office, and said that the cameraman was “not aware of the rules”.

Last May, in its Irish language party political broadcast for the local and European elections, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson was filmed directly in front of Leinster House on the Kildare Street side of the Oireachtas complex.

pearse doherty plinth Source: Sinn Féin/YouTube

Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan said he was disappointed that Leinster House authorities had not been more vigilant in ensuring this did not happen. He said he intended to raise the matter with the government chief whip, Paul Kehoe, who sits on the CPP.

“Obviously this is not first time that this has happened. The plinth is not a party political broadcasting backdrop and they shouldn’t be using it as that,” O’Donovan said.

Is the next thing that we’re going to have to book the plinth for party political recordings? That’s not what the plinth is for. It’s not some sort of TV studio. Are we going to have ‘spin the wheel’ on it next?

A Sinn Féin spokesperson explained: “That piece was originally shot in North Dublin but there was a technical difficulty with the footage and it needed to be re-done at short notice as editing was already under way in Belfast.

“The cameraman arranged the re-shoot directly with Mary Lou without going through the press office and unfortunately he was not aware of the rules of the house relating to this.”

Previously: Sinn Féin could be in trouble for filming a party political broadcast outside Leinster House

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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