independent

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Gallagher third highest spender in 2018 election

Sean Gallagher
Sean Gallagher

Eimear Dodd

Presidential contender and businessman Sean Gallagher was the third highest spender in last year's presidential elections.

The businessman, who was based in Wicklow at the time, had a total of €246,820 on election expenses. He ran as an independent candidate.

However, Michael D Higgins spent more than any other candidate in last year's presidential elections with a total of €367,338. Senator Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House and independent candidate, recorded expenses of €253,194. Independent candidate Peter Casey spent €119,911, independent Gavin Duffy recorded expenses of €163,438 and Sinn Fein candidate Liadh Ní Riada. spent €209,716.

The Standards in Public Office Commission released details of the spending by the six candidates last Wednesday, and the donations they received.

Only two candidates will have expenses refunded. President Higgins will receive a re-imbursement of €200,000 as he was elected. Peter Casey will receive a re-imbursement of €119,911 as his votes exceeded one quarter of the quota during the counting of votes. The maximum amount which may be reimbursed to qualified candidates at a presidential election is €200,000

There were three candidates who declared donations above €600. Joan Freeman received €24,000, Michael D Higgins €41,300 and Sean Gallagher received €9,000.

The report included a breakdown of electoral spending. Mr Gallagher spent the most on other electoral material (€169,111.45). Mr Higgins was the highest spender on advertising (€49,869.73) and Freeman spent the most on publicity (€52,609.28). Ms Freeman was also the highest spender on campaign workers (€90,734.87).

Mr Higgins topped the vote and won with 55.8 per cent in last year's election. Mr Casey came second with 23 per cent. Sean Gallagher received 6.4 per cent of the vote, the same as Liadh Ní Riada, while Joan Freeman polled six per cent and Gavin Duffy 2.2 per cent.

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