Paschal Donohoe faced the correct consequences

Brandon Perry

One of the biggest news stories of 2023 has been the controversy around donations received by Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe in the 2016 and 2020 general elections and the Minister’s failure to declare certain donations to his campaign.

Beginning with the discovery by the Standards in Public Office (SIPO) commission that Donohoe had failed to properly declare a donation from businessman Michael Stone and his company Designer Group.

Stone donated €1240 to the Minister’s 2016 election campaign and the services of six of his employees and a company van for the purpose of putting up posters, none of which were declared by Donohoe.

Following the breaking of the initial story Donohoe apologised, but refused to resign. He intended to review his past campaign donations. This well-intentioned plan only wound up landing Donohoe in more hot water as further discrepancies emerged, this time during the 2020 general election.

The media and the wider public have latched onto the scandal, leading to its dominating discourse throughout the country. The non-stop discussion around Donohoe’s failure to accurately report his donation history has thrown the already fragile government into disarray and put a target on the Minister’s back.

While some would argue that these were honest mistakes rather than some scheme and that the criticism of Donohoe and calls for him to resign has been too harsh there are in a clear minority and the criticism of the Minister is coming from all angles.

While it is obviously the media and government opposition’s job to discuss the scandal, it is the way in which it has caught on with the general public and caused an outrage rarely seen that is the real thing to highlight.

This fury towards Paschal Donohoe is more than just to do with donations. It is for many a reaffirmation that those in power are able to break rules and get away with it. The outrage is hence justified not only for the initial scandal but all those that came before in which politicians never faced any repercussions for their misdeeds.

The donation scandal has captured the public’s imagination and highlighted how powerful people can get away with rule-breaking in ways ordinary people cannot. It is this hypocrisy that captured the public’s attention.

Brandon Perry

Image Credit: Dreamtime images