Greens pile on pressure for donation reforms

THE Greens last night ratcheted-up pressure on Fianna Fáil for radical reform of corporate donations to political parties by calling for legislation by the end of the year.

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said he wanted the crackdown fast-tracked despite anger within Fianna Fáil at the move.

The intervention followed threats from Green TD Paul Gogarty that his party would collapse the coalition and “gladly go to the country” if Fianna Fáil does not honour its commitment to reform in the programme for government.

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan dismissed Mr Gogarty’s remarks, saying he was suffering from “summer over exuberance”.

The type of reform needed has yet to be finalised, but it is believed the idea of creating a central fund for company donations which would be distributed in proportion to the size of parties in the Dáil has been discussed.

Tensions within the coalition emerged when Fianna Fáil backbencher Bobby Aylward warned there was no need for change.

He warned the taxpayer would end up footing the bill for political parties under green plans and that restrictions on donations were already tight enough.

Mr Ryan said reform was a key Green objective for this autumn.

“We want to see change in politics. Its in the renewed programme for government.

“I think we can convince our colleagues of the necessity of this. I’d like to see it this year, we need to react quickly and restore confidence in the political system,” he said at the MacGill summer school in Glenties, Donegal.

Fine Gael has said it will oppose any Government plans to ban corporate donations while Labour wants a major reduction in the amount of money that can be donated to political parties.


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