Saturday 21 October 2017

Howlin accused of protecting big parties

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

PUBLIC Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has been accused of perpetrating an "insider job" by refusing to change the law to stop political parties keeping state funds from departed members.

The Government yesterday voted down an Seanad amendment to the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Bill 2013, by 25 votes to 21.

It had been put forward by former Fine Gael turned Reform Alliance senators Paul Bradford and Fidelma Healy Eames.

The pair have, in recent weeks, been pushing hard for the law to be changed, in order to prevent Fine Gael from retaining €21,045 allocated to it, based on the results of the 2011 general election.

The Reform Alliance Senators said by rejecting their amendment, the main parties will be able to retain €500,000 in public funds, which it was allocated based on their membership of the party. They were expelled from Fine Gael last July for voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

Speaking during the debate yesterday, Mr Bradford said: "It is inappropriate that approximately €500,000 will be handed over to the political parties in the coming three years based on calculations that are no longer valid."

He added: "This is an example of improper practice and it sends out the wrong signal about politics, politicians and political funding."

Irish Independent

Also in this section