Donohoe 'has no recollection' of company directorship he failed to declare, claims he paid firm for services

Paschal Donohoe twice failed to declare his directorship of a company and has claimed he doesn't remember "any involvement" in the firm.

The company, owned by one of Leo Varadkar’s former parliamentary assistants, designed his website and ran his blog. Donohoe claims, through a spokesperson, he paid this company – of which he was a director – for these services on "on a commercial basis".

If Donohoe didn’t pay the company, ExSite Politics, it would’ve been considered a political donation under ethics legislation.

Donohoe's official website in its bottom-right corner acknowledges it was designed by ExSite.

Oireachtas members must declare all company directorships. Failure to do so is a breach of ethics legislation which can be investigated by SIPO. Senators and TDs are required under ethics law to declare all donations valued over €650.

'Congratulations on being nominated for best blog of a politician!'

Paschal Donohoe in 2009, then a senator, was appointed a director of two political communications companies owned by Tom Ponsonby, formerly Leo Varadkar’s parliamentary assistant.

In his Seanad declaration of interests for 2009 and 2010, the Dublin Central TD declared he was a director of just one company, ExSite Communications Ltd.

However he failed to declare he was also a director of ExSite Politics Ltd. This company was running his website and blog.

On 3 March 2010, the company tweeted Donohoe, reffering to a blog award for which he'd been nominated, writing, "Congratulations on being nominated for best blog of a politician!"

Donohoe responded, "Chuffed. Encouragement to keep at it."

ExSite later confirmed its work with Donohoe, tweeting, "Two of ExSite Politics clients are in the final of the blog awards! Good luck to Paschal Donohoe and Laura McGonigle!"

Donohoe resigned both directorships in June 2010.

He's already under pressure for twice failing to declare postering services he received from Designer Group CEO Michael Stone. Stone resigned from his two government-appointed positions earlier today.

A spokesperson for Donohoe said the public expenditure minister "had involvement in and attended meetings of ExSite Communications", the company for which he did declare his directorship. The spokesperson said that Donohoe "has no recollection of any involvement in ExSite Politics", the company for which he failed to declare his directorship.

Donohoe was a director of the company for just under a year.

The spokesperson said that Donohoe paid for the website and blog services. "Website services were and are provided by ExSite Communications and are paid for on a commercial basis."

The public expenditure minister is due to make a statement in Dáil later today after it was revealed that he failed to declare donations received from businessman Michael Stone in 2016 and 2020.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors