Sinn Féin TD received €20,000 loan from charity while serving as its director

A Sinn Féin TD received a loan from a charity while he was serving as one of its directors. The deputy said he was not involved in the decision to approve the loan.

Sinn Féin's Martin Kenny used his family home as security for the €20,000 loan to his company according to Land Registry records seen by The Ditch. The guarantee is still registered as a burden on the property’s folio – usually indicating a loan has not been fully repaid.

Charity directors “may not profit from carrying out their duties as a charity trustee… or receive other benefits”, according to the Charities Regulator.

A €20,000 loan a year after incorporation

Sligo–Leitrim TD Martin Kenny served as a councillor with Leitrim County Council from 2001 until his election to the Dáil in 2016. He is Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for justice and equality and a member of the Oireachtas committee on justice.

In December 2009 he was appointed a director of the Leitrim County Enterprise Fund (LCEF) and served on the registered charity’s board until September 2015.

The LCEF, the charity says, “aims to assist and support small- and medium-sized enterprises in job creation by offering low-interest loans”.

Kenny incorporated boiler-servicing company Jack Frost Freeze Prevention Systems Limited in June 2011. He and his wife were both directors of the company and each held 50 percent of its shares.

Kenny’s firm received a €20,000 loan from LCEF less than a year later. At the time Kenny was a director of the charity, which did not disclose the loan in its 2012 accounts.

In a statement to The Ditch, Kenny said “The company did get assistance from the County Enterprise Fund and I made sure not to be part of any decision around the company's application.

“Jack Frost Freeze Prevention Systems Ltd was a company that unfortunately went out of business and stopped trading in early 2013 and was liquidated toward the end of 2013, at which stage my directorship ended.”

LCEF declined to comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors