The news, which we report in today's paper, that Dublin North Fine Gael is selling tables at €850 each for a corporate fundraising event to be attended by Health Minister James Reilly and Transport Minister Leo Varadkar makes a nonsense of the Government's plans to restrict corporate donations to political parties.
When, after the McCracken, Flood/Mahon and Moriarty Tribunals, will our politicians ever learn? Despite all that we have learned over the past 15 years it seems that our politicians are drawn to corporate funding like moths to the flame. It's almost as if there is some sort of inner instinct that overrides their normal caution and good sense.
Unfortunately, as today's story demonstrates, this inability to resist the lure of corporate funding is not confined exclusively to Fianna Fail. Far from it. When presented with the opportunity to garner corporate donations, Fine Gael can be just as venial.
With the Government's proposed new legislation restricting corporate donations to €200 a year, the timing of the Dublin North Fine Gael fundraiser can only be described as opportunistic. With public cynicism towards politicians and the political system at unprecedented levels, Fine Gael should scrap this ill-advised gathering immediately.