Thursday 18 July 2019

Iona spent €500,000 during year of repeal referendum

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

Darragh McDonagh

The company behind Catholic advocacy group the Iona Institute spent almost €500,000 last year as it unsuccessfully campaigned against the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Newly filed accounts show that Lolek Company Limited by Guarantee increased its expenditure by 125pc to €498,262 in 2018, spending large amounts on items such as advertising, market research, and consultancy.

The Iona Institute is a trading name of the company, which is a registered charity with the stated objective of promoting "marriage and religion in society".

Last year, its outlay on advertising and market research soared by almost 660pc to €138,635 compared with just €18,266 in 2017.

This included the cost of billboards featuring an image of an 11-week-old foetus as part of its anti-abortion campaign.

Spending on consultancy, research and speaker fees increased by nearly 390pc to €167,796, up from €34,388 in 2017. Travel and entertainment costs more than doubled from €10,384 to €24,321.

The company had an average of two employees during this time, who were paid a combined total of €95,000 in wages and salaries.

Lolek's income also doubled to €441,696 during the financial year. This offset the increase in expenditure, resulting in an annual deficit of €56,499, leaving it with reserves of €233,221 at the end of the year.

David Quinn, the director of the Iona Institute, did not respond to a request for comment.

Irish Independent

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