Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has been before the Dáil giving a statement in relation to issues surrounding his expenses declaration from the 2016 General Election campaign

In that statement he acknowledged that he made a "clear mistake" and said he sincerely regrets the controversy and the role he played in it.

RTÉ's Political Coverage Editor, David Murphy has been taking a look at some of the key issues behind this controversy.

1. The donation

Election 2016 was a tight contest for Paschal Donohoe. The Dublin Central constituency had been reduced from four to three seats making it a tough battle. In the event Minister Donohoe took the last seat.

According to Fine Gael, its constituency organisation in Dublin Central received a donation worth €1,057 in services for the campaign. The donation of six people and a van to erect and take down posters was over four evenings.

Under Standards in Public Office Commission rules, donations to individual candidates are limited to €1,000. However, donations to party organisation are limited to €2,500. Paschal Donohoe maintained that he originally believed that the work had been done on a voluntary basis and he did not declare it. But it subsequently emerged the workers were paid.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said each of men erecting the posters were paid less than €200. A commercial vehicle was also used.

Those two pieces of information changed everything. It meant that the donation should have been declared as an election expense during General Election 2016. Last weekend, Paschal Donohoe submitted an amended return to the Standards in Public Office Commission to reflect the donation. It should have been done after the 2016 election.

2. The businessman

Businessman Michael Stone made the donation of the van and staff to Paschal Donohoe's campaign. Mr Stone is a supporter of the Minister.

He was also appointed chairman of the Dublin North Inner City Implementation Board by the Government in 2017. The body aims to improve the lives of those in the area which includes some of the poorer neighbourhoods in the capital.

He is also a director of the Land Development Agency - an organisation which the Government is pinning its hopes on to help fix the housing crisis.

In the Dáil today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Mr Stone turned down payment of expenses and allowances for both roles. "He is genuinely somebody who wants to make the world a better place and believes in his community."

3. The problem

Sinn Féin has raised questions about the donation. It says the value of the contribution sounds too low for work done by six individuals with a van over four evenings.

Secondly, it maintains that the services provided seem more like a contribution given to a candidate and not Fine Gael in Dublin Central.

If it was a donation to a candidate, as it was valued over the €1,000 threshold, that would be a problem because it would breach the spending limit. Fine Gael has rejected both of these arguments. It says that there was also some voluntary postering done during the campaign hence the lower cost.

Sources estimate the commercial cost of posters for a campaign can cost over €4,000. Fine Gael is also standing firm that the donation was to Fine Gael in Dublin Central and not Paschal Donohoe as a candidate.

The Labour Party's Ivana Bacik described the fact that Michael Stone's company had picked up the cost of postering without Paschal Donohoe's knowledge as "highly unusual - to say the least". She has asked how can Minister Donohoe be sure this was a donation to the party and not to the candidate?

4. The complaint

A complaint has been made the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) about the donation. The procedure is that it will consider the complaint. It will then decide whether there will be a preliminary inquiry and then an investigation which would be a full hearing held in public.

5. The minister

In the Dáil this evening, there was been little change in the Paschal Donohoe's story regarding the donations. He said: "Neither myself nor any of my team intentionally misinformed SIPO or knew that the form was incorrectly submitted to them."

He said when he became aware of the use of commercial van he should have "reviewed" his submission to SIPO. "I should have taken that action when I became aware of an allegation in 2017 and when I became aware of questions at the end of last year." He added: "I got that wrong and I apologise for that."

One new nugget of information was that Paschal Donohoe did reveal Michael Stone also bought tickets in a fundraising draw from Paschal Donohoe. In 2020, these were five tickets for €334, and 22 tickets in 2021 worth €1,382. He stressed those donations were was within legal limits.

6. The verdict

Minister Donohoe has been backed by his party and his coalition partners Fianna Fáil and the Greens. So far none of the main opposition parties have called for him to resign. Some however, have asked would he resign if the SIPO outcome is negative.

The opposition still has more questions but none have called for a no confidence vote in the Minister. He remains a key figure in the Government and has a prestigious role internationally as he is chairman of Eurogroup the finance ministers of the countries which use the euro.

But if anything further emerges which unravels Paschal Donohoe’s explanation, the support for the minister could falter.