Eddie Hobbs appeals to Renua Ireland donors for €1m
Email tells potential backers Carlow-Kilkenny byelection ‘crucial’ to embryonic party
Renua Ireland president Eddie Hobbs said it was difficult for new parties to get up and running, indeed it was “near, but not quite, impossible”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Renua Ireland president Eddie Hobbs has appealed for €1 million in donations to fund the party’s general election campaign – with €20,000 being immediately allocated to the Carlow-Kilkenny byelection.
In his email to potential backers, Mr Hobbs says restrictions from the Standards in Public Office Commission make it “near impossible” for new parties to establish themselves.
Under new rules introduced by Phil Hogan during his tenure as minister for the environment, political parties can only accept a maximum of €2,500 from a single source. All donations to parties above €1,000 must be declared. Individual politicians can receive a maximum of €1,000 and anything above €600 must be declared.
Mr Hobbs said it was difficult for new parties to get up and running, indeed it was “near, but not quite, impossible”.
The majority of spending, 51 per cent, will be on campaigning, with another 27 per cent on staff at party headquarters, including for its new director of communications, John Drennan, former political editor of the Sunday Independent.
Mr Hobbs – who has yet to say whether he will actually stand for the Dáil – said the party had “just been able to open a bank account and get started”.
Between €800,000 and €1 million is needed to “give Renua Ireland the firepower in the coming general election to field candidates across every constituency”, he adds.
“Arguably Renua Ireland is the first viable political party formed in 30 years, but the only one in the field with Oireachtas members that doesn’t get State funding. All State funding, €13 million, is distributed across the incumbent political parties.”
Mr Hobbs says the first “€20,000 or so” will be applied to the “crucial” Carlow-Kilkenny byelection. Kilkenny councillor Patrick McKee, poached by party leader Lucinda Creighton from Fianna Fáil, is party candidate in the May 22nd contest.
“Renua Ireland is initially looking for financial support from those that offered to assist us when we announced in January. This will be followed by a national campaign that is web-supported and social media-driven, to raise funds from reform-minded Irish people at home and away,” wrote Mr Hobbs.
The email attached a brief summary of its launch policies, and referred to its “ massive volunteer commitment”.
“We have regional and local constituency teams now in place, a list of candidates going through fitness, probity and selection tests, a clear vision, four key principles and a code of ethics to guide us and the beginning of an exciting reform agenda fed by over 100 analytical contributors in a peer review model.”