FIANNA Fáil’s Eamon Ó Cuív led a move to boost party coffers by suggesting to his three former ministerial colleagues to donate their severance pay to the party.
Mr Ó Cuív proposed to colleagues that his ministerial severance pay along with that of Micheál Martin, Brian Lenihan and Brendan Smith — the four returned former ministers — be donated to Fianna Fáil.
The four former ministers discussed donating part of their near total €350,000 in severance pay packages to FF after initially agreeing to give up the generous payments, Mr Ó Cuív said last night.
But when inquiries were made it emerged that the former ministers could only give the maximum political donation allowed of €6,348 each to the party.
Mr Ó Cuív said he had wanted to “avail of the magic formula” where other TDs gave large chunks of their salary back into their party organisation. Sinn Féin TDs as well as Socialist TD Joe Higgins among others have claimed they only take the average industrial wage.
Sinn Féin said last night that TDs donate the rest of salaries back into local constituency offices, bills or staff pay, after making the maximum donation allowed to the party.
Mr Ó Cuív revealed to the Dáil this week that when he went to donate his €88,000 ministerial severance pay to his party, he was unable to because of the political donation threshold.
“I would have loved to give that kind of money to Fianna Fáil, which could badly do with it at present.
“However, I was told that while I could take the money myself and pay tax on it, if I donated more than €6,350 a year, it was a political donation over the limit and I was not allowed to do it.”
Speaking to the Irish Examiner yesterday, Mr Ó Cuív said he had suggested his three colleagues should also donate their severance pay to the party.
“Brian Lenihan and I did the homework on it. It was mentioned between the four of us, but we found there was a legal snag. Micheál and Brian agreed to give it up. I said why give it up when it can go to the party?” he said.
“None of it’s going to the party because it’s just too complicated,” said Mr Ó Cuív last night.
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