Files on FG, FF political donations referred to gardaí

Parties disclosed donations worth total of €171, 644 for last year

Thu, Jul 3, 2014, 13:51

Files relating to donations to Fine Gael branches in Mayo and Kildare have been referred to the gardaí, along with a Fianna Fáil branch in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, according to the Standards in Public Office (Sipo) Commission.

In its report on political donations received last year, Sipo said legislation needed to be changed to ensure an accurate picture of political party finances was available to the public.

“It is a matter of some regret that some accounting units continue to fail to co-operate with the Commission and only comply with their statutory obligations once the matter is referred to the DPP/Gardaí,” the report said.

The commission published aggregate figures for political parties with a significant number of accounting units, which are branches or other subsidiary organisations of political parties which receive donations in excess of €100 in any year.

Accounting units must open and maintain a political donations account in a financial institution in the State. By March 31st each year, a statement from the financial institution in which the account is held, together with a Certificate of Monetary Donations, must be furnished to the commission.

On June 4th, the commission referred a file to the gardaí on those accounting units which had not provided the relevant documentation.

Documents from a Fine Gael accounting unit in Clane, Kildare North and a Fianna Fáil unit in Dún Laoghaire remain outstanding. “The situation in relation to the Fine Gael, Patry, Co Mayo, accounting unit is still with the gardaí,” the report states.

The Fianna Fáil Meath East accounting unit submitted the required documentation on June 6th and the Labour Party’s Justin Keating unit did so on June 18th.

Meanwhile, political parties disclosed donations worth €171,644 last year.

Donations exceeding € 1,500 in value received by political parties during 2013 were required to be disclosed. The maximum value of donations which a political party could accept from the same donor in the same year was € 2,500.

Fine Gael disclosed €112,625, followed by the Socialist Party with €25,980. Sinn Féin recorded €21,084 and Workers and Unemployed Action, which is fronted by the South Tipperary TD Séamus Healy, disclosing donations of €5,000.

The Green Party disclosed €4,880 and the United Left Alliance €2,075.

Two parties - the Catholic Democrats and the Communist Party of Ireland - failed to furnish the required documentation to the commission by the specified date. The Communist Party of Ireland has still not submitted the required statutory documentation and the commission referred a file on the matter to the gardaí on May 19th.