The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is to recuse himself from policy decisions related to the progression of ethics legislation and with regard to SIPO.

Paschal Donohoe said that this arrangement will remain in place while the Standards in Public Office investigate a complaint made regarding the declaration of donations during his 2016 General Election campaign.

The services relate to putting up and taking down electoral posters, which Mr Donohoe said he believed had been voluntary.

Mr Donohoe has written to the Secretary General of his Department to notify him of his decision to recuse himself from these duties.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, he said that upon review of records, related to the provision of a service to his 2016 election campaign, he discovered that he should have declared an additional €1,057 to his election statement.

This, he said, reflects the equivalent commercial value of the service.

Giving an account of the sequence of events, the Fine Gael minister said his party's branch in Dublin Central was offered assistance with his 2016 re-election campaign, in putting up and taking down posters.

"This assistance was understood to be on a voluntary basis. It was provided across four nights during the campaign period, before and after polling day," he said.

He said there were six people involved and neither Mr Donohoe nor his campaign paid them, nor was he aware that they had been paid.

However upon review, he discovered that they had been paid for their help in that campaign. He told reporters today that this was a personal payment by an individual in support of Fine Gael in Dublin Central.

He said that with regard to the use of vehicles, some were personal vehicles, however he since discovered that a company van was used.

He said that his election expenses form should have reflected that cost which he said was €140, and this was an oversight on his part.

The value of labour provided, which he said was approximately €917, should also have been declared.

Mr Donohoe said that he "deeply regrets" that the matter was not dealt with correctly in 2016 and said that he always holds himself to the highest of standards.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise and Employment Louise O'Reilly said that Mr Donohoe’s explanation was "simply not credible".

"The only reason it appears he has now broken his silence on this issue is because SIPO wrote to him on Friday," Ms O’Reilly added.

"It is incumbent on Paschal Donohoe to make a comprehensive statement on this matter setting out what he knew and when, because the explanation provided this evening simply does not stack up."

No sense of urgency to modernise SIPO, says Shortall

Earlier today, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall said successive governments "have completely ignored" calls for more powers for Standards In Public Office (SIPO) and there is no sense of urgency to modernise it..

She added that the most recent review, which has not been published, appeared to be a "delay tactic".

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, Ms Shortall said that Mr Donohoe needs to make a full statement on SIPO, given that he is the minister responsible for it.

"Sometimes people think that you only have to declare monetary donations but of course we are required to declare goods and services as well," Ms Shortall said.

"That's what seems to be at stake here."

Speaking on the same programme, John Devitt of Transparency International Ireland said that it could be another four or five years before SIPO is reformed.

"We need to see reform in an overhaul of the way in which these declarations are made," Mr Devitt said.

"The current system is 20 years old or more and we need to see digitisation of declarations so the general public can see for themselves what interests their public representatives have and whether they're serving the public interest rather than their own self-interest".

Additional reporting: PA