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Fianna Fail will 'do an Obama' to raise funds for war chest

Fianna Fail is to go down the Barack Obama route of fundraising by taking small amounts from large numbers of people.

But the party will still accept corporate donations within the legal limits.

Following the scrapping of the party's controversial tent at the Galway Races by Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Fianna Fail will adopt a model used successfully by Fine Gael -- tapping its support base for small sums.

Fianna Fail is conducting a funding and organisational review, and several FF ministers believe the party must collect more from its own members.

Pointing to Mr Obama, party sources said the US Democrats' presidential nomination frontrunner successfully tapped both large and small donors.

"What we'll be trying to adopt is a larger number of donors giving smaller amounts, rather than small numbers giving large amounts," a senior source said.

Negative headline-grabbing events like the Galway Races will go, but Fianna Fail will not be refusing corporate donations. The party believes Fine Gael got no credit for refusing corporate money under Michael Noonan's leadership.

"It'll be a mix, because it's not realistic to say no corporate donations. There's nothing to be ashamed of because all the accounts are audited and it's all done according to Standards In Public Office Commission guidelines," according to one party source.

Fianna Fail will still benefit from golf classics and race nights, as well as focusing on its national collection, which brings in about €500,000.


Fianna Fail revamped its national draw last year and increased the ticket price to €50. As a result, the take doubled to nearly €700,000.

But this still pales in comparison to the Fine Gael set-up, which took in €1.3m last year.

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In the five years from the party's meltdown in 2002 to the comeback in 2007, Fine Gael raised around €5.5m in its national draw, with tickets at €80.

Community Affairs Minister Eamon O Cuiv said the party needed to face up to the challenge of collecting more money from the its membership, which is almost twice as large as Fine Gael's.

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