Sinn FÉIN TD, Padraig MacLochlainn, has rejected call from Labour Senator Jimmy Harte, for Sinn Fein to meet the costs of the challenge taken by Donegal South West TD, Pearse Doherty, against the Referendum Commission which was rejected by the High Court on Wednesday.
The Labour Party senator made the call at Friday’s referendum count in Donegal North East. Sinn Féin’s legal costs have been reported as exceeding €200,000. The challenge was labelled “a stunt” by Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore. Senator Harte said Sinn Féin should not be asking the people to pick up the bill for the costs.
“I ask Sinn Féin and Pearse Doherty to pay the court costs. They have paid €200,000 for a photo opportunity. That’s basically what it was. Sinn Féin have a lot of money, they collect money in America and they have sterling deposits in the UK.”
But Deputy MacLochlainn said his party were entitled to take the challenge over the referendum.
“We had a right to take the case and we will leave it to the court to decide. We have applied for our costs to be covered and the court will decide that. Whatever decision is made, Sinn Féin will accept it.” He added estimates of the costs would exceed €200,000 appeared excessive and described the comments from Cllr Harte as being “ part of a brand of aggressive politics.”
“Once again people have rejected the analysis of his government. The Labour Party have broken their promises to the people of Donegal,” he said.
“Labour got 4,000 first preference votes in Donegal North East in the general election, and it is clear that they will never see that type of support again.”