Libertas denies breach of electoral donations law

Wed, Jun 11, 2008, 01:00

LIBERTAS HAS distributed 35,000 copies of a consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty since it began campaigning in December 2007, but this did not form part of its campaign, the organisation's founder Declan Ganley said yesterday.

Speaking to the media in Dublin, Mr Ganley said his organisation was not in breach of a law that prohibits political organisations from accepting donations from abroad.

Libertas has distributed 35,000 copies of The Lisbon Treaty, the Readable Version, which it was given by the Brussels-based Foundation for European Democracy. The book sells for €20. Under Irish electoral law, bodies involved in political campaigns cannot accept donations, including "property or goods", from abroad. They also cannot accept a donation worth more than €6,348 from a single donor in any one year.

"We're not taking a single vote for granted. We've been handing out these treaties wherever we can," Mr Ganley told reporters at the photocall, clutching two copies of the book in front of his chest.

Asked if the use of the books was not in breach of the law, Mr Ganley said it was not. "Somebody's got to do it. We're distributing it and if people are uncomfortable with the fact, I am sorry about that," Mr Ganley said.