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Gormley's got just €30k to stop election wipeout

THE Green Party has just €30,000 to spend on its election campaign.

John Gormley won't have any spare cash to splash as the former coalition partner seeks to prevent a total wipeout on polling day.

It appears that as the country's finances were going down the tubes, Fianna Fail and the Green Party's bank balances were doing likewise.

After more than three years of unpopular rule the election war chests of both have been left severely depleted. For the first time ever, Fianna Fail will have less money to spend on election literature and advertising than Fine Gael and Labour.

And as they fight for their survival, Micheal Martin's party are struggling to do any significant fundraising.

Even their annual €95-a-plate fundraising dinner had to be cancelled before Christmas amid fears of a public backlash.

There was major concern within the party that the going ahead with the dinner would have dragged up images of Brian Cowen partying at the summer "think-in" in Galway.

Sinn Fein, who have only four sitting TDs seeking re-election, are set to spend a minimum of €250,000.

And Eamon Gilmore has confirmed that the Labour Party has around €1m in its kitty.

Fine Gael did not respond to queries from the Herald about how much they have in their election coffers but it is understood to be also in the region of €1m.

The large cash reserves give the two main opposition parties a headstart on Fianna Fail going into the election, while Mr Martin will also be extremely concerned about the healthy state of Sinn Fein's finances.

The Herald revealed yesterday how a private Fianna Fail poll confirmed the party's worst fears that it could end up with less seats than Gerry Adam's grouping after the election.

Mr Martin has yet to outline exactly how much he has to spend, however he has promised to reveal it in the coming days.

"We will announce how much we will be spending. We will not be spending as much as the Fine Gael party. They will be outspending us in this election," he admitted. "Clearly our finances are not as good as we would like them to be. But we will have enough money to fight a strong and credible campaign."

On their official Twitter page, the Green Party noted: "At the moment [we have a budget] in the region of €30,000 but the more we raise, the more we'll be spending on getting the Green message out."

They added the combined spend by all Green candidates will be up to €250,000 but admitted the actual election fund is "much less".

Speaking about his party's spend on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Gilmore said: "All told it'll be around €1m."

kdoyle@ herald.ie