Ann Sweeney fails to submit statement outlining by-election expenses

An Independent candidate in last Novembers Donegal South-West Dáil by-election has been referred to an Garda Síochána over her failure to submit a statement outlining her election expenses.

Dunfanaghy-based businesswoman Ann Sweeney was one of six candidates.

The Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) today revealed that Sweeney had been the only candidate not to return a Donation Statement or an Election Expenses Statement, the latter being required under Irish election law.

With Sweeney still to issue a statement of her expenses, or to disclose any donations, the matter has therefore been referred to an Garda Síochána.

Speaking to Highland Radio News this morning Ms Sweeney said that she had hardly no expenses to declare and that she had been too busy to send away the required forms to the Standards in Public Office.

Meanwhile, SIPO said it had not found evidence of any candidate spending more than the allowed amount, with no candidate exceeding the individual limit of €30,150.

The highest-spending candidate was Labour councillor Frank MacBrearty Jr, who spent €29,916, while Fine Gael’s Barry O’Neill spent €28,987. Fianna Fáil senator Brían Ó Domhnaill spent €27,203, of which €630 was met from public funds, while winner, Sinn Feins Pearse Doherty spent €24,939.

Independent candidate Thomas Pringle – who won a seat in the constituency in February’s general election – spent €3,995.