Cork election candidate jailed over donations

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla failed to file necessary returns with Sipo following 2011 vote

An unsuccessful candidate in the 2011 general election was arrested on Thursday and brought to Cork Prison to serve a five-day term for failing to file a list of donations with the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo).

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla had been fined €300 by Judge Olan Kelleher at Cork District Court in December 2014 for failing to make the returns to the body, which supervises electoral matters.

The order was subsequently affirmed by Judge Donagh McDonagh at Cork Circuit Court.

Ó Cadhla has refused to pay the €300 fine.

On Thursday morning, gardaí from Blackrock Garda station in Cork executed a warrant for his arrest and brought him to Cork Prison to serve the five days in lieu affirmed by Mr Justice McDonagh in the event of failure to pay.

During O'Cadhla's Circuit Court appeal last July, Jacqueline Moore of the Standards in Public Office Commission testified that all candidates had to declare donations in excess of €634.87 received for election purposes.

Ms Moore also told the court that legislation requires all general election candidates to declare all election expenditure within 56 days of polling day and file a return for that expenditure to Sipo.

‘Discriminatory’

Ó Cadhla, from Upper Beaumont Drive, Ballintemple, Cork, confirmed he had not filed the returns within the required 56-day period after the 2011 general election, when he ran for the People's Convention in Cork South Central and got 508 first preference votes.

“I am standing up for what I believe in,” said Ó Cadhla.

He said he wasn’t filing the returns as he believed the legislation was discriminatory against non-party candidates like himself in favour of political parties, who he described as “private clubs”.

Ó Cadhla also ran for the People’s Convention in this year’s general election, when he got 869 votes.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times

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