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Upper Bann DUP MP Carla Lockhart has said Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd should make a statement explaining the resignation of a senior Upper Bann Sinn Fein official.

The resignation came amidst the Sinn Fein Covid cash scandal where £30,000 in support payments had been received almost seven months ago but only paid back to the public purse this week.

Carla Lockhart said:

“Across Upper Bann small businesses are in the fight of their life for survival through this pandemic. They are disgusted that £30k, meant to support struggling businesses, was resting, in error, in bank accounts connected to SF for almost seven months.

There has been drip feed of information from Sinn Fein about the matter as the media stepped closer and closer to the facts.

Sinn Fein’s frugal approach to transparency and disrespect for the taxpayer has been exposed. Yet while the public has many questions, Sinn Fein is bunkered in their solicitor’s office sending out legal letters to the media like Christmas cards.

The social media graphics, banners and posters about honesty, integrity, respect seem to have been about little more than political opportunism.

A very senior Sinn Fein official in my constituency has been the sacrificial lamb yet the most senior media spokesman and one-time leadership contender John O’Dowd, has been strangely silent in the last 72hours.

We know John has aspirations of leadership, so here is a chance for him to show leadership. He should step up and address the questions that the people of Upper Bann demand answers to. In particular, who knew about the money and when did they know?

Will he step up in a spirit of openness, integrity and respect? We will wait and see.”