Friday 23 February 2018

Gene Kerrigan: Time to separate politics and money

If we want a level playing field, all freebies should be returned to sender, writes Gene Kerrigan

Many moons ago, my then boss Vincent Browne imposed a ban on corporate donations. (It's as easy as that, Enda -- just do it.) This came to mind last week, while Fine Gael was shrugging off its embarrassment over the Moriarty report revelations -- in particular, the sneaky games the party played to hide a donation of 50 grand. It happened a long time ago, Fine Gael says. Everything's different now. Today, it's all about openness and transparency.

Not really. Today, for every €17 in donations disclosed by the political parties, there is €83 spent on elections that come from secret donors. The parties spent about €12m on the 2007 general election, and yet -- according to the figures they legally had to disclose -- they collected only €2m.

It's past time to separate politics and Big Money.

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