Two firms donated to Fine Gael despite financial difficulties

Two companies experiencing difficulties in 2011 still found enough money to support Fine Gael.

The party did not declare the receipt of any donations for that year in because all cases amounts were below the disclosure threshold.

However, separate details in the companies’ accounts show they provided financial support to the party despite trading difficulties.

Corporate records show Pat Doherty’s Harcourt Development gave Fine Gael 1,500 UAE dirham (€300) in 2011 despite losing €14m. It had to restructure its debt pile with Nama in 2012. Harcourt, which used to also support Fianna Fáil, only provided money to Fine Gael during 2011.

The largest party in the country also received €2,000 from Dartfield Ltd.

The company, which runs a horse museum and centre in Loughrea, owed €1.68m to the bank and this loan was in arrears. Its main shareholder, William Leahy, had also provided the company with a loan.

The auditor’s report, filed with its 2011 accounts, said there was a material uncertainty over its future.

However, in 2011 the company was approved for grant support through the Leader programme. It said this would improve its survival prospects.

The total grant, of almost €100,000, is being drawn down to improve access off the M6 motorway and make it more available to tourists.

For the third year in a row, Fine Gael also accepted money from Custom Compost in Wexford.

In Jun 2011, the company pleaded guilty to three charges of tax evasion.

This happened after it concealed staff bonuses through a secret bank account. It had to make a settlement of more than €450,000 with the Revenue Commissioners.

Last year, it was approved planning permission to develop a €4m expansion at its Wexford plant.

Fine Gael said it is fully in compliance with the Standards in Public Office Commissioner declaration requirements.

Other political donations were revealed in the records filed with the Companies Registration Office.

Fianna Fáil received €725 from Corinto Investments, owned by John O’Leary from Ballinlough, Cork. Millennium Communications Media donated €800.

Fine Gael received €400 from a company run by Tallaght solicitor John Glynn.

The Labour Party got €1,000 from Multimedia Computer Systems.

The parties did not have to declare the donations because they were below the disclosure threshold.

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