Aengus blots reputation with spent cartridges

It wasn’t spent cartridges, but the money spent on cartridges that saw Sinn Féin caught in the crossfire.

Indeed, cartridges were ricocheting around Leinster House like in a war zone yesterday with credibility appearing to be the first casualty as proof emerged that Sinn Féin’s pious outpourings on Government waste aren’t worth the paper they are printed on — because the printing costs are truly astronomical, as just one of their TDs splashed out €50,000 of our money on ink cartridges in a two-year period.

Meanwhile, Enda Kenny played political Russian roulette as he loaded the referendum revolver’s chamber and started spinning it — but unfortunately, no one seemed quite sure whose head it will end up being held against, the eurozone, the electorate, or his own Government?

Sinn Féin don’t like being reminded of their involvement in all that past unpleasantness when their slogan was “A ballot box in one hand, an Armalite in the other” — but cartridges continue to catch them out nonetheless.

If Aengus Ó Snodaigh is to be believed, his motto is a: “A letter box in one hand, an ink cartridge in other” as the Sinn Féin deputy managed to leave the taxpayer with a fifty grand bill as he walked out of Leinster House with enough supplies for 3.2m leaflets.

“Anyone who lives in the constituency would be aware of getting leaflets on a continuous basis,” he boasted as he tried to wriggle his way out of the mess.

Well, I just happen to live in Ó Snodaigh’s Dublin South East constituency and I cannot recall a single Sinn Féin leaflet coming through my front door outside of election times — when it is illegal to use Leinster House stationery supplies.

So, isn’t it curious that while those 3.2m pieces of paper were blowing down my street like a two-year long Arctic blizzard, I somehow failed to notice?

Even Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was forced to admit the amount involved was “excessive,” but insisted that the party would not be paying back a penny, before claiming there was no need for an inquiry — and of course, the ink had not been siphoned off like smuggled fuel to help the rest of the organisation.

Ms McDonald was dragged into the controversy as she attempted to talk up the party’s debate on, of all things, securing state assets — well, Mr Ó Snodaigh at least, certainly knows how to secure those.

Ms McDonald claimed Ó Snodaigh had been a victim of “the system” as no one had “tapped him on the shoulder” to tell him about the costs.

All of which might suggest that Ó Snodaigh is a not very bright 11-year-old, rather than a 47-year-old who is usually banging on and on about the disgraceful way deputies of every other party apart from his own waste public money.

Mr Kenny’s cartridge is of a different kind as he faces the real prospect of a backlash No vote in the referendum, and so hopes he can point his referendum revolver at Brussels with the aim of using the threat to secure a better debt write-down — and if that fails, point the gun at the electorate and warn the lights go out if the eurozone poll goes down and the ECB turns off the cash.

But as an ardent No campaigner, we had all better keep a close eye on Ó Snodaigh as his vanity printing costs could easily tip the State into bankruptcy all on their own.

Forget the Stickies, Sinn Féin are now revealed as the Inkies — and their story is just plain Stinky.

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