Former U2 boss among high-profile businessmen backing TDs
Former U2 manager Paul McGuinness and billionaire Dermot Desmond are among several high-profile business figures who made donations to politicians last year.
Their contributions were among an overall sum of almost €73,000 disclosed by TDs in their annual returns to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo). The agency publishes the names of donors and the sums they contribute, providing an insight into private funding of Irish politics.
Mr McGuinness is listed as donating €1,000 to Wicklow TD and Junior Minister Andrew Doyle, to whom he has contributed a combined €5,500 over the years. Mr Doyle last night said he's known the music mogul, a neighbour, for years and used to rent farmland from him. He said Mr McGuinness has made donations to him for the last three elections and that he has always disclosed them.
Mr Desmond, meanwhile, donated €1,000 to Fianna Fáil TD Seán Haughey in 2016.
Under the current law governing donations individual politicians cannot accept more than €1,000 from a single source. They must disclose donations greater than €600.
Other notable donations include the almost €14,500 construction supplies tycoon Michael Chadwick made to the Social Democrats and several of the party's candidates.
- Read More: Who are the top businessmen backing TDs?
Mr Chadwick, the former non-executive chairman of the Grafton Group, also gave €1,000 to Stephen Donnelly while he was still in the Social Democrats, before the Wicklow TD switched to Fianna Fáil.
A Social Democrats spokeswoman said all donations have been declared in accordance with the law and are within the legal limits.
She said: "We are grateful for all donations, large and small, from supporters who wish to see the Social Democrats' vision for a better Ireland succeed."
Successful pharma sector businessman Thomas Lynch - who recently hosted a fundraising supper for incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar - donated €1,000 to Fine Gael TD Michael D'Arcy. Wexford TD Mr D'Arcy disclosed nine donations totalling €8,650, the most received by any individual politician last year.
Trade union Siptu donated €2,500 to the Labour Party and a further €5,700 which was spread between various unsuccessful left-wing candidates, including €950 each to two from People Before Profit and one from the Green Party.
Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald listed a €1,000 donation from her husband Martin Lanigan in her disclosure.
Labour TD Alan Kelly listed €999 from his brother Declan Kelly, the chief executive of US firm Teneo. Declan Kelly also gave €1,500 to the party's branch in Tipperary.
Who are the top businessmen backing TDs?
Wicklow resident Paul McGuinness had a successful career as a music mogul spanning decades. He announced his retirement as U2's manager in 2013
Michael Chadwick - whose wealth has been estimated at some €208m - ran building supplies firm Chadwicks. His retirement as as non-executive chairman of the Grafton Group was announced earlier this year.
Billionaire businessman Dermot Desmond previously donated to 2011 presidential candidates Mary Davis and Senator David Norris.
Declan Kelly - the brother of Labour TD Alan Kelly - has made a number of donations to him over the years. He is the chief executive of US advisory firm Teneo and previously served as economic envoy to Northern Ireland under US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.