Saturday 29 November 2014

Fianna Fail on course to clear its debt by next year

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 20/03/2014 | 02:30

Sean Dorgan, General Secretary  of Fianna Fail
Sean Dorgan, General Secretary of Fianna Fail

FIANNA Fail is on course to be "debt-free" next year following a series of lucrative fundraising drives.

The party yesterday revealed that it owes its creditors €860,000 – compared with a staggering €3.6m in the run-up to its disastrous general election in 2011.

Fianna Fail figures have previously been tight-lipped on the exact magnitude of the party debt, which had built up substantially during the Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen eras.

However, the party's general secretary Sean Dorgan yesterday confirmed that the debt pile has been reduced to €860,000.

While the country's day-to-day accounts are due to be in the black by 2018, Ireland will be paying back its crippling long-term debt for decades to come.

However, FF is facing a rosier picture and is now set to be "debt-free" at some stage in 2015.

"In relation to the party finances, the current level of debt at the moment has been reduced significantly – it's about €860,000 at the moment. Our treasurers are hopeful that at some stage next year, the party will be debt-free in 2015," Mr Dorgan said.

He added that the party's improved finances were as a result of a number of highly successful fundraisers, particularly its national draw at Christmas, which generates in the region of €500,000-€600,000 a year.

Tickets for the draw cost party members €50.

The party's coffers have also been boosted by its national collection in the summer, as well as from the proceeds that are generated by membership fees.

"The profile of our fundraising has changed very significantly over the years, if you look particularly over the last four to five years . . . at the moment 90pc of all of our donations are €100 or less."

DISAPPOINTED

Mr Dorgan was speaking ahead of the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis this weekend, which is being staged eight weeks before the local and European elections.

The party's honorary secretary and jobs spokesperson, Dara Calleary, said FF was "very disappointed" with its lack of female candidates in the May elections.

Just 20pc of female candidates will be fielded by Fianna Fail – which is significantly below that of other parties.

"We are about just under 20pc on the female side of things nationally. We are disappointed in that, we are not hiding it," Mr Calleary said.

Mr Calleary added that 120 of the party's 400 candidates in the local elections were first-time candidates.

Irish Independent

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