Renua tapped Ganley for loan in lead up to general election
Businessman Declan Ganley extended a loan for an undisclosed sum to Lucinda Creighton's political party Renua Ireland to help cover its costs in the run-up to last February's general election, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
According to a source familiar with the matter, the loan was used by Renua for a media campaign that saw prominent adverts placed in the Irish Times and the Irish Independent.
Asked for comment on the matter, a spokesperson for Mr Ganley said: "There's nothing to hide.
"Declan made it very clear on Twitter last year that he was a supporter of the party and that he wished them well. He was hugely on board with the 'flat tax' idea. When they came out with it, he was hugely enthused."
Explaining the Rivada Networks chief's decision to support Ms Creighton's party financially, the spokesperson said: "Their fundraising people got in touch with him directly and asked him if he would be in a position to provide some financial support. He made a loan to them. I'm not going to get into the amount, but obviously it was greater than the maximum allowable donation. It was a loan."
Mr Ganley's spokesperson added that representatives of Renua had been in contact "a couple of weeks ago to say that it [the loan] would be repaid with interest in October of this year."
Asked to outline the precise purpose for which the loan had been given to Renua, the spokesperson said: "It's not for me to say what the money was spent on. It was an election campaign, so I'm sure they spent it on [items requiring] election funding. I know they had approached a number of people. Declan was one of them, and he was happy to provide [the loan]."
While Mr Ganley made his support for Renua known through statements on his Twitter account and through his attendance at the party's first 'think in' last September, his decision to provide the party with financial backing in the lead-up to the general election has not been revealed until now.
The Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) has strict regulations governing the provision of loans to political parties.
Sipo rules stipulate that in the case of loans given by individuals or bodies that are not financial institutions, it "must be evident that the loan offered is a bona fide loan." To satisfy itself in this regard, the ethics watchdog requires the terms and conditions of such loans to be stated clearly in writing and for the interest chargeable to "reflect the interest charged by financial institutions on loans of a similar amount and duration".
Sipo's regulations state that it "may require sight of the terms and conditions, including the interest charge, applying to the loan and may require confirmation that the loan has been repaid in accordance with these terms and conditions".
Where these conditions have not been adhered to, Sipo says the benefit of any non-repayment may be regarded as a donation.
Having failed to secure any seats at the election, Renua is seeking to redefine itself after Ms Creighton's resignation as party leader last month.