Sunday 18 March 2018

Labour spent €21 per vote in by-election fiasco

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE surprise package who beat the Labour Party in the Meath East by-election is entitled to a €9,000 refund on his campaign expenses – but won't get the money until he sends in his spending returns.

The Labour Party spent over €21.50 a vote won in their disastrous by-election.

The party was beaten into fifth place by the candidate from a new party, Direct Democracy Ireland's Ben Gilroy.

Mr Gilroy has now been contacted by gardai after failing to make a return to the State ethics watchdog on his election spending and donations. "It's our first time doing it," he said.

Once Mr Gilroy fills out his forms, he will be entitled to claim back up to €9,000 in election expenses as his 6.5pc of the vote qualified him for a refund.

"We'll definitely get back what we spent, which is a boost," he said.

Labour's awful performance means it does not even qualify for a reimbursement of election expenses.

The party's candidate, Eoin Holmes, got just 1,112 votes – after the party spent nearly €24,000 on his campaign.

The expenditure of €23,988.64 translates to spending €21.57 per vote won.

The spending limit per candidate in the Meath East by-election was €31,150.

The highest expenditure was €29,850 on the campaign of Fine Gael's Helen McEntee, who won the seat to replace her father, the late Shane McEntee.

Irish Independent

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