Team Yes - who's who, how they are funded and what their strategy is

Mon, Sep 14, 2009, 01:00

Apart from the main political parties, civic and business groups are lining up on the Yes side

FIANNA FÁIL

Fianna Fáil’s campaign budget will be less than the €750,000 it spent on the 2008 referendum, with sources indicating the total spend may range between €600,000 and €700,000. Fianna Fáil is receiving €125,000 towards its campaign from the ALDE grouping in the European Parliament.

The party’s campaign has two central themes: “Ireland Needs Europe” and “We’re Stronger with Europe”. Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin is serving as campaign director, and Minister of State for European Affairs Dick Roche will also play a prominent role.

The party will distribute 22,000 posters across the country. A pamphlet will be distributed to households. A dedicated website has been set up, and the party will also utilise social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

FINE GAEL

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny will criss-cross the country on a 20-day canvass ahead of referendum day on October 2nd. The main Opposition party will draw between €250,000 and €300,000 from the party’s coffers to spend on its campaign, says Fine Gael’s director of elections, Wicklow TD Billy Timmins.

The party will receive between €80,000 and €90,000 from its partners in the EPP grouping at the European Parliament, according to Timmins. The Fine Gael campaign will combine outdoor media and postering with extensive door-to-door canvassing by all its elected representatives.

Some 20,000 posters will be circulated. The party will take out online advertisements, in addition to using Facebook and Twitter to target younger voters.

LABOUR

The Labour Party has promised a “ground war” campaign in the run-up to October 2nd, with a heavy emphasis on door-to-door canvassing. Labour’s European affairs spokesman Joe Costello will act as campaign director. A spokesman said the party plans to spend around €200,000 on its “Work With Europe”campaign. Half of the budget will come from party funds and the other half from colleagues in the PES grouping in the European Parliament.

The party will erect 100 Lisbon-themed billboards nationwide. It will also distribute 10,000 posters around the country, and about one million pieces of literature including fliers and pamphlets. Labour has set up a dedicated website, and the party plans a strong online campaign on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

GREEN PARTY

This marks the first time the Green Party will campaign for a Yes vote in an EU referendum, and they will have to do so on a shoestring. Spending on the campaign will be limited to €5,000, a spokesman confirmed. This week the Greens will distribute 1,000 posters. There will be a strong focus on door-to- door canvassing, and the campaign will also feature talks by visiting Green MEPs. The party’s European affairs spokeswoman, Senator Deirdre de Búrca, is campaign director.

IRELAND FOR EUROPE

The biggest player of the civil society groups that have mushroomed ahead of next month’s referendum, Ireland for Europe has amassed a formidable list of patrons. They include Seamus Heaney; U2’s The Edge; film director Jim Sheridan; owner of the O2 Harry Crosbie; BP chairman Peter Sutherland; and sports stars such as Robbie Keane and Dennis Hickie. The organisation, which describes itself as a “people’s movement”, argues that “this decision is too important . . . to just leave to the politicians”. Former president of the European Parliament Pat Cox has stepped down temporarily from his role as president of the International European Movement to act as the organisation’s director. Brigid Laffan, UCD academic and veteran of many EU referendums past, is its chairwoman. A spokeswoman said just over €240,000 had been spent on the campaign so far, and the total spend is expected to come to around €500,000. Monies have come from individual and corporate donors, and fundraising is ongoing.

WE BELONG

Olivia Buckley, a former head of the Fianna Fáil press office and public relations executive with Murray Consultants in Dublin, is the director of We Belong, a civil society group that professes “an ordinary straight-talking approach to Lisbon”. It has attracted support from businessman Bill Cullen; actor Mary McEvoy; former rugby international Mick Galwey; Dublin GAA football manager

Pat Gilroy; and Eimear Quinn, songwriter and winner of the 1996 Eurovision. The group has distributed posters adorned with its slogan – “Lisbon. We Belong. You Decide” – and plans to engage with voters through networking sites and word of mouth.

We Belong has spent €100,000 on its campaign so far, and has raised about €150,000 through donations and fundraising events. It expects to spend a total of €250,000.

IBEC

The employers body will spend €150,000 on its own campaign for a Yes vote, with the money spent mostly on outdoor advertising and campaign literature.

INTEL AND RYANAIR

The two companies have announced they will both run advertising campaigns in favour of the Lisbon Treaty. Ryanair is expected to spend about €500,000 on its campaign.

GENERATION YES

Founded by Andrew Byrne, who also works as chief of operations for the Ireland for Europe campaign group, Generation Yes is targeting younger voters. A majority of young voters voted against the Lisbon Treaty last year.

The organisation, staffed mostly by graduate students, has raised just over €4,800 so far and hopes to raise €20,000 in total through online donations and fundraising events. The bulk of spending goes on fliers, postcards, and other literature. Generation Yes operates out of office space on Dublin’s Leeson Street which was donated by an unnamed supporter, and it also has organisers based in Cork, Waterford and Galway.

WOMEN FOR EUROPE

A civil society group established to address the fact that 56 per cent of those who voted No last year were women. The group has distributed leaflets and information packs, and organised events with guest speakers, including secretary general of the European Commission, Catherine Day.

So far it has raised €35,000 through donations, most coming from individuals, and organisers hope to raise €50,000 in total. “A lot of people have given us things in kind,” says chairwoman Olive Braiden, adding that Ibec has given them office space at its headquarters. The group has spent up to €25,000 so far, mostly on printing campaign literature.

BUSINESS FOR EUROPE

An alliance of more than 50 groups including various chambers of commerce, the Irish Hotels Federation and Ibec.

It expects to spend up to €25,000 on campaign literature for members, a dedicated website and roadshow.

THE CHARTER GROUP

A civil society organisation established by trade unionists in June. Its members include Des Geraghty, Blair Horan, Peter McLoone and Senator Ivana Bacik. The group expects to spend €15-20,000 on its campaign, and organisers say it is funded by unions and individual donations.

IRELAND’S FUTURE

Web-based organisation founded by Mary Frances McKenna, director of the Business Alliance for Europe during last year’s Lisbon referendum campaign. Staffed by volunteers, the organisation’s total spending is expected to come to €1,000.