Saturday 18 November 2017

Politicians raked in donations for Euro campaign

Michael Brennan and Dan Danaher

POLITICIANS got donations from fast-food outlets, chocolate-makers and crash repair specialists during last year's European elections campaign, a new report shows.

According to a report by the Standards in Public Office Commission, former Dublin Lord Mayor Eibhlin Byrne got the loan of vehicles for her campaign from crash repair specialists Ace Autobody Ltd. The donation was worth €2,155.

Her running mate Eoin Ryan, who failed to hold on to his seat in the Dublin Euro constituency, got a €1,500 donation from Niall Fortune, the founder and managing director of Eddie Rocket's fast-food chain.

And the Libertas candidate in the constituency, Caroline Simmons, got a €2,500 cheque from The Irish Chocolate Company.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's brother Maurice was given the use of Fianna Fail's famous St Luke's premises in Drumcondra for his unsuccessful Dublin Central by-election campaign last June. He declared the use of the office to be worth €1,096.

Former Fine Gael MEP Colm Burke got the use of a vehicle (worth €2,163 to him) for his ultimately unsuccessful campaign in the Ireland South constituency from a "P Cafferkey" in Mallow Road Motors in Cork.

Fianna Fail's Paschal Mooney got the use of an office (worth €750 to him) from Joe Dolan, the managing director of the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon in Leitrim. He failed to win a seat in the North West constituency but won a vacant Seanad seat recently after being nominated by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

All this came as returns from Standards in Public Office Commission also showed that businessman Declan Ganley spent €195,154 -- almost four times more than outgoing MEP and poll-topper, Marian Harkin, on an unsuccessful campaign to get elected to the European Parliament from the North West constituency last year.


The chairman and founder of pan-European party Libertas spent €43,844 on advertising, €9,967 on publicity, €44,638 on posters, €73,565 on election material, €4,257 on office and stationary,€6,873 transport and travel, and €12,007 on campaign workers, the report said.

Mr Ganley has ruled out a return to contesting a Dail election, claiming the power had now shifted largely to Brussels and what national parliaments could do in fiscal and monetary terms was limited.

"I put myself before the people in the North West constituency, I wasn't successful. I have now moved on, I have no regrets and I am now focusing on some very exciting business developments," he said.

Mr Ganley insisted that Libertas had complied with all the requirements of the commission, and said that he received no individual donation.

Irish Independent

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