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Laura Hutton

'I forgot to give them a receipt': James Reilly referred to gardaí by Sipo over €1k election donation

Under Sipo rules, the maximum cash donation that may be accepted by a candidate during the general election is €200.

FINE GAEL SENATOR James Reilly is among 66 election candidates referred to gardaí by the Standards in Public Office (Sipo) for failing to comply with electoral law.

The watchdog’s report on last year’s general election finds that Reilly failed to provide a receipt in relation to a cash donation of €1,000.

The former health minister failed to be elected to the Dáil, however he was later appointed to the Seanad by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Under Sipo rules, the maximum cash donation that may be accepted by a candidate during the general election is €200.

It states it is awaiting confirmation that the excess amount (€800) was returned.

Reilly told RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke programme this morning that it was an oversight on his part.

He said he had only found out about the matter 20 minutes previous when his wife had called him.

Basically I put my hand up. I forgot to give them a receipt.
In fairness to Sipo they have a job to do, they wrote to me, I declared everything honestly, I declared a €1,000 of a cash donation.

He said the person who donated the cash to him is a personal friend and neighbour.

I handed the money back to him, they subsequently wrote to me and asked for me to provide a receipt for that and I fully intended to give it to them.

However, the senator said there was a lot going on in his personal life that distracted him.

Reilly said his family were moving house, with the sale of the Moneygall home going through the week before Christmas.

There was a ferocious amount of activity. I did not try and do anything dishonest.

He said he was sorry his friend has been dragged into the public controversy and said he could get a receipt for the cash returned to Sipo by today.

“I don’t want to waste garda time.”

Though he regrets the situation, at least this example shows that Sipo is doing its job, he said, adding that the public must have “faith in our politicians things are done on a bona fide basis”.

The vast majority of the other 65 election candidates referred to gardaí are independent candidates.

Read: Martin McGuinness criticises the Irish Times, saying he wants his privacy respected during illness>

Read: Regulator denies saying water metering programme should be abandoned>

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