Parties declare €31k donations for 2011

Neither Fine Gael nor Labour declared a single political donation last year despite spending millions between them on elections.

It means that Fine Gael has not declared a single political donation since Enda Kenny became leader in 2002.

In its latest report, the Standards in Public Office Commission said the law surrounding donations remained ineffective.

The report showed parties disclosed donations totalling just €30,997 for 2011 — the lowest on record since the law requiring disclosure commenced in 1997.

This was despite the fact that the main parties — particularly Coalition partners Fine Gael and Labour — spent heavily in last year’s general election.

However, the law provides that a party has to declare only donations which exceed €5,078.95, meaning it can take as many as it likes below that threshold without revealing them.

Neither Fine Gael nor Labour disclosed a single donation last year.

The Socialist Party declared donations totalling €12,649, which came from their own representatives, Joe Higgins TD and Paul Murphy MEP.

Sinn Féin disclosed €12,000, which came from TDs Martin Ferris and Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

Fianna Fáil disclosed €6,348, which came from a private citizen.

The commission said the legal provisions “aimed at ensuring transparency in relation to disclosure of donations remain ineffective”.

As a result, “it is difficult for any citizen to have a clear picture of election spending by each candidate and party or a clear indication of the sources for such funding”.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has published legislation to reform the system, but the Dáil has yet to pass it.

Meanwhile, separate figures from the commission showed parties received €12,664,793 in funding from the State for 2011.

The funding is for administration and Oireachtas activity, and cannot be used for electoral purposes. Fine Gael received €4,752,202, Fianna Fáil €3,091,818, Labour €2,826,585, Sinn Féin €1,619,412, the Greens €132,970, the Socialists €120,903, and People Before Profit €120,903.


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