Wednesday 16 October 2019

Election expenses revealed

Margaret Roddy

It's not cheap standing for election as the expenditure figures revealed by candidates for the May local elections show.

All candidates were obliged to furnish details of their expenditure and any donations received to Louth County Council, with only one candidate, Finian McCoy failing to do so.

The majority of candidates from political parties received some funds from 'other resources' ie the party, but most put in their own money, while non-party candidates had to foot the bill themselves, with none declaring donations.

The biggest spender was Eoin Daly of the Green Party who spent €7,444 of which €5,963 came out of his own pocket, with just €1,482 coming from other resources. Despite spending the most of any candidate in the Dundalk/Carlingford or Dundalk South areas, Daly, failed to get elected. He spent a whooping €5,659 on advertising in newspapers, Facebook and billboards and €1,028 on election posters

Fine Gael's Cllr John McGahon was the next big spender, forking out €6,648.19, all of which came from his own resources. The sitting councillor, who is also the party's candidate for the next General Election, spent €1,900 on Facebook ads and campaign videos, as well as paying €1,600 on office rent and €1,200 wages to a secretary.

His party colleague, Cllr Maria Doyle, showed that there was no need to spend a lot of money to get re-elected, spending a mere €934, the lowest of any of the successful candidates. Again all her expenditure came from her own resources.

Fianna Fail's Cllr Emma Coffey spent a total of €5,153, of which €4,400 came from her own resources, with €753 from the party. Her biggest expenses were advertising, including videos, at €1,653, and posters at €1,443. She also spent €400 on campaign workers.

Cllr Marianne Butler of the Green Party spent €5,118, with €4,226 coming from her own pocket and €891 from other resources. She was another big spender on advertising, which accounted for €3,478 of her expenditure.

Poll topper Cllr Maeve Yore ran a poster-free campaign, spending just €300 on advertising and €970 on other election material. The Independent candidate for Dundalk South funded her total spend of €1,270 from her own resources.

By contrast, the poll topper for Dundalk Carlingford, Cllr Antoin Watters of Sinn Fein spent a total of €2,251, with €2,131 coming from 'other resources' or the party, and just €120 from his own pocket. He spent €478 on advertising, €544 on posters and €1,174 on other election materials.

His party colleague Cllr Edel Corrigan spent €2,003, with €1,743 coming from 'other resources' and €260 from her own resources. She spent €478 on advertising, €644 on posters, and €851 on other election material.

Cllr Ruairi O Murchu, who was standing in his first election for Sinn Fein, having previously been co-opted, spent a total of €2,123, of which €2,048 came from other resources and a mere €75 coming from his own pocket. He spent €478 on advertising, €444 on election posters and 41,071 on election posters.

All of Cllr Tomas Sharkey's €1,743 expenditure came from the Sinn Fein party. He spent €478 on advertising, €444 on posters and €791 on other election material.

Fianna Fail's Cllr Liam Reilly was another candidate who ran a poster free campaign. His total expenditure came to €1,712, of which €1,251 came from his own resources, and €461 from 'other'. He spent €461 on advertising, €650 on election leaflets and €600 on transport and travel.

His party colleague Cllr Conor Keelan spent €2,769, of which €2,092 came from his own resources and €667 from the Fianna Fail party. He spent €1126 on advertising, €320 on publicity, including videography, and €1,238 on posters.

Fianna Fail newcomer Cllr Sean Kelly spent a total of €3,026, all of which came from 'other resources'. His biggest expenditure was on election posters at €1,509 and he also spent €534 on advertising, and €800 on postage.

Another first time candidate for Fianna Fail, Cllr Erin McGreehan, spent €2,144, of which €1,175 came from her own resources and €939 from 'other resources'. She spent €1,170 on posters, €514 on advertising and €328 on a publicity event.

Advertising, posters, and election material such as 'flyers', accounted for most of the candidates' spending. In a world where social media has gained central stage, a number of candidate took out advertising on Facebook and employed professional photographers and video makers.

The election expenditure also benefits various sectors in the local economy, from newspapers and radio stations to printers and photographers. Most candidates relied on posters and sending election literature to voters and a few got car stickers.

The Argus