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Saturday 20 January 2018

Seanad candidate didn't declare use of charity's printer on donation form

Kieran Rose Picture: Tommy Clancy
Kieran Rose Picture: Tommy Clancy

Cormac McQuinn and Eilish O'Regan

The Seanad candidate who used the printing facilities of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) for his election literature did not declare the support provided by the charity in a statement to the State's political standards watchdog.

Kieran Rose, a co-founder of Glen, failed in his bid to be elected to the Seanad last year.

He reimbursed the cost of the printing work to the charity but made no reference to the support provided by Glen in a statement on political donations to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo).

Separately, the Irish Independent can reveal that Atlantic Philanthropies - which has backed Glen to the tune of almost €4m - only became aware of the controversy surrounding the charity through media reports.

It emerged at the weekend that allegations of financial mismanagement at Glen are being investigated by the Charities Regulator.

Glen's executive director Áine Duggan made a voluntary disclosure to the regulator which is now investigating the charity's finances and corporate governance.

Read More: Glen's most generous donor only learned of concerns in the media

Among the issues being probed is the use of the charity's printers during Mr Rose's Seanad campaign last year.

Disclosure: Áine Duggan Picture: Gerri Hernandez
Disclosure: Áine Duggan Picture: Gerri Hernandez

He was among 30 candidates for the three seats on the Seanad's National University of Ireland panel.

He lost out after making it to the 19th count.

Candidates that don't get elected are required to make an "Unsuccessful Candidate Donation Statement" to Sipo within 56 days of the election.

Mr Rose ticked a box on the form to state that he received no single donation exceeding €600 in value.

Read More: Kieran Rose: gay rights champion and city planner

He has so far declined to specify how much the printing cost but he reimbursed the sum involved. Donations that exceed €600 must be declared on the Sipo form. The form gives examples of donations to be disclosed in this category as "cash/cheque, use of property, services, etc". Mr Rose's submission leaves this section blank.

Sipo publishes all Unsuccessful Candidate Donation Statements on its website.

The watchdog does not comment on individual candidates.

Sipo confirmed the Electoral Act requires that candidates "disclose donations, including monetary donations, as well as loans and other support".

Seanad candidates are required to submit two other items to Sipo - a certificate of monetary donations, and a signed statutory declaration.

Sipo is precluded from publishing these two documents under the Electoral Act.

Seanad candidates are not required to provide election expenses statements to Sipo.

On Tuesday, Mr Rose declined to say how much the printing of his election literature cost and when he paid the money back.

He said he couldn't comment now but he hoped to do so "fairly soon".

Last night, Mr Rose did not respond to attempts to contact him for comment on his donation statement to Sipo.

Mr Rose co-founded Glen almost 30 years ago and is listed as a director on the charity's website.

He has served as the charity's co-chairman and played a leading role in the Marriage Equality referendum campaign.

Earlier this week the charity's board confirmed that an external financial company is reviewing Glen records.

Irish Independent

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