Fundraising appeals by abortion-referendum campaigns have raised significant amounts from small donors, both sides have claimed.
Together for Yes, which wants to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution on May 25th and allow abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy, said it raised more than €200,000 in 11 hours during an online crowdfunding appeal for its national poster campaign on Tuesday.
Save the 8th raised €100,000 at its Rally for Life demonstration in March, according to its spokesman John McGuirk. The anti-repeal group said it had exceeded its €400,000 fundraising target and now expected to generate €500,000.
Together for Yes said it had hoped to raise €50,000 in seven days for 5,000 posters but had reached its target just over two hours after its appeal began, at 8.30am on Tuesday. The campaign said that by 1pm €100,000 had been donated by more than 2,400 people. By 7.30pm the total had passed €220,000, and organisers had increased their target to €250,000. The campaign's head of fundraising, Denise Charlton, said it was "indicative of the groundswell of support Together for Yes has the length and breadth of Ireland".
The campaign added that it was ensuring every donor was resident in Ireland or an Irish citizen, in line with standards-in-public-office, or Sipo, regulations. "We also have systems in place to ensure that we have the names and addresses of every person who donates over €100. If there is any evidence that someone is not compliant with Sipo, that money will be returned."
John McGuirk said Save the 8th had raised its funds mainly through direct mailing and online appeals. “We’re optimistic that final fundraising will be close to or slightly above €500,000.” He said Together for Yes had said it had raised €170,000 in three or four weeks, but “we’ve raised over €400,000 since January”. He also said the No side had been building up funds for several years.
Had Save the 8th accepted donations from abroad? “We have no need to do it, and it would be stupid for us to do it.” Overseas donors had been “sending $100 or $200. No one is sending $10,000,” Mr McGuirk said, adding that all such funds had been returned.