Ganley fails to provide clarity on Libertas loan


THE ANTI-LISBON Treaty campaigner Declan Ganley has not responded to a request for information from the Standards in Public Office Commission in relation to a loan he has said he gave to Libertas during the recent referendum.

Correspondence between the commission and Mr Ganley over the past number of months, seen by The Irish Times, shows that the commission has queried Mr Ganley and Libertas about a number of issues.

Libertas is estimated to have spent in excess of €1 million in its high-profile campaign against the treaty. Mr Ganley has said the money came from donations from the public since January 1st, 2008, all of them less than € 6,348.69, and all from Irish citizens or Irish companies. He has also said he made a personal loan of €200,000 available to the campaign, and that other loans from other unnamed parties were also used.

In a letter dated August 22nd, the commission sought a copy of the legal agreement and repayment plan for the loan Mr Ganley has said he made to Libertas. On September 23rd it repeated the request and added: "In addition to that information it would also be appreciated if you could provide the following information.

"Please state if any loans were provided to Libertas in relation to its referendum campaign by a financial institution. If loans were provided please state whether such loans were subject to the terms and conditions that are normally imposed by a financial institution and that the provision of such loans did not constitute a donation to Libertas.

"Please provide details of any other loans provided to Libertas in relation to its referendum campaign by individuals or bodies which were not financial institutions." The commission on September 11th wrote to Mr Ganley seeking details concerning Rivada Networks employees who worked on the Libertas campaign. Rivada Networks is the Irish subsidiary of a US company that supplies communications infrastructure to the US military and others. Employees of the Irish subsidiary were signatories of the document that established Libertas.

In the course of the referendum campaign, Libertas activist Naoise Nunn told The Irish Times he was an employee of Rivada who did work for Libertas at the direction of Mr Ganley. Mr Ganley has told the commission that the employees of Rivada who worked on the Libertas campaign did so in a voluntary capacity.

On October 15th, Mr Ganley was asked to reply to the various requests for information that had been sent to him in the period since August 22nd, and to do so within 14 days. The commission said it was preparing a report for the Oireachtas which would include details of the inquiries it has made concerning the funding of Libertas.

Mr Ganley has not as yet responded to this, but a solicitor has on his behalf written to the commission late this week complaining about correspondence with the commission being released into the public domain. The correspondence was released in the wake of a Freedom of Information Act request.

Mr Nunn was the "responsible person" in Libertas in relation to the entity's obligations to the commission. He informed the commission in September that he had resigned from Libertas on the 19th of that month.

In a letter to the commission on July 7th, Mr Ganley said that "under the definitions of the elector acts, Rivada Networks Ltd made no donations to Libertas".

He also said his loan to Libertas "involved a detailed legal agreement with a repayment plan in accordance with commercial lending norms and signed in accordance with the relevant section of the electoral acts".

Libertas did not wish to comment when contacted yesterday.