The Sennheiser leader said Senator Elisha McCallion and two Northern Ireland officials had resigned following revelations that three party offices had received erroneous payments from the Covid-19 grant scheme.
Mary Lou MacDonald said she accepted the resignation of three people responsible for the accounts and did not return the money.
Others who resigned include the chair of the Upper Ban Comhair Senator and party officials in West Tyrone.
“Failure to disburse grants incorrectly on Synfen account accounts is a very serious matter,” McDonald said.
As a party leader, I want to acknowledge and apologize for these failures.
In a statement, Ms McCallion apologized and said she had not applied for the grant and had not received any correspondence from the finance ministry.
“Before bringing it to my attention on Monday, I fully agree, as a signature on the account, that I need to take action to investigate this situation,” she said.
Fully refunded on Tuesday.
I apologize for the bad judgment I have shown in this regard, so I spoke to the party leader last night and his resignation as a member of the Synod Iron took effect immediately.
Miss McCallian’s resignation could lead to a synod by-election.
Sinn Fൻin is unlikely to hold the seat because he is a voter who includes Oriya members.
This will be the second by-election as it will have to go to the seat vacated by former Fine Gay Gay Senator Michael DRC.
This public money had to be repaid immediately as no political offices were eligible for this grant. Can’t accept that this didn’t happen.
We took this very seriously and took decisive action. https://t.co/hBmxjosh0w
– Michelle O’Neill (one Moneilsf) October 29, 2020
SDLP leader Kolam Eastwood was the MP for Ms McCallion Foyle from June 2017 to December 2019 when she lost her seat.
The party leadership said in a statement that three party offices had mistakenly received $ 10,000 for lodges under a small business grant scheme set up by the UK Department of Economy in March 2020.
Grants were not applied for, but were automatically paid to businesses that paid an annual rate of up to $ 15,000 via direct debit.
“Payments were made to constituency accounts in West Tyrone and Largan, and to Elisha McCallion’s account in connection with her former Westminster office,” Ms McDonald said.
“In each case, the grant was repaid in full and repaid on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
The money had to be repaid immediately as no political office was eligible for the grant. Can’t accept that this didn’t happen.
The party has established in each case that it is responsible for the management of suspicious accounts and for refunding these funds.
“I met Sinn Finn Ard Comhair last night.
“Last night, I accepted the resignation of Senator Elisha McCallion, who accepted full responsibility for not returning the grant immediately.
The party has accepted the resignation of a West Tyrone party official responsible for running the account. Maoist McHugh MLA demanded but failed to repay the grant immediately.
Cathar Leach, chairperson of the Upper Bon Comhair Center (Constituency Organization), also resigned in recognition of her failure to repay the grant payment on time.
The Small Business Grant Scheme was launched to support businesses struggling during extraordinarily difficult times.
“Failure to repay erroneous grants immediately on Synfen accounts is the most serious situation.”
Additional Reporting by Sandra Hurley
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