FG choice campaign won’t be funded by memberships

Josepha Madigan

Fine Gael’s referendum campaign will not use official party funds to pay for its pro-choice platform amid concerns from pro-life officials over their membership fees being targeted.

Culture Minister and campaign co-ordinator Josepha Madigan said the pro-choice Fine Gael campaign platform will be funded through “dinners and events” instead of “membership subscriptions”.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today With Sean O’Rourke programme, Ms Madigan said pro-choice Fine Gael members are still putting their campaign together.

She said despite suggestions both pro-choice and pro-life members will be able to access money from party headquarters to pay for referendum leaflets on an individual basis, party funds will not be used to support the official Fine Gael pro-choice campaign.

“We will be raising money for this campaign, but it’s going to be separated completely from membership fees, it will be for the yes campaign,” said Ms Madigan.

“We’ll be asking members, but it’s not going to come out of their membership subscription. So it will come from whatever sources, there’ll be dinners and events like that in order that we can put together a good campaign.

“Obviously there are people who have a different view to that, and they’re entitled to that.”

Political parties have so far officially set aside about €45,000 for the referendum campaign, a figure that pales in comparison to the €325,000 officially made available for the 2015 marriage-equality referendum.

While Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil said no funds will be made available from party headquarters to back either side, money will be made available to councillors, TDs, and senators on an individual basis for posters and leaflets.

Labour, Sinn Féin, and the Social Democrats are still finalising their referendum budgets, while the Greens will spend less than €10,000 on the campaign.

Solidarity is likely to spend up to €15,000 on the referendum over the next two months, in addition to a further €10,000 to €20,000 from the linked party, People Before Profit.

Pro-life party Renua plans to spend €25,000 to €30,000 during the referendum campaign on a series of events, posters, and leaflets drops around the country.

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