Fine Gael spent more on papers, magazines, flowers than on women’s development programme

Party spent €417 on women, €2,657 on papers, magazines and flowers from leader’s fund

Fine Gael’s Ardfheis programme provided detailed accounts of the party’s expenditure

Fine Gael’s Ardfheis programme provided detailed accounts of the party’s expenditure


Fine Gael has spent more on papers, magazines and flowers than it has on its women’s development programme.

The party also spent more on motor expenses than it did on women’s development. And its spending on travels, meeting and subsistence was also greater than on women’s development.

Fine Gael will have more than 100 female candidates standing in the local elections, the largest number of any political party, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the ardfheis last night.

It also has the largest number of women in the Dáil, with 10 of 26 women TDs in its parliamentary party, but it spent less on its women’s development programme than it did on anything else, according to its accounts.

The party spent €417 of the party leader’s Oireachtas grant on its women’s programme in 2011, a more than 250 per cent increase on its €164 spend in 2011.

Slight increase
Spending on papers, magazines and flowers from the leader’s fund was €2,657 in 2012, a slight increase on €2,235 spent in 2011.

Motor expenses from the leader’s fund amounted to €3,960 in 2012 and €3,108 the previous year. Postage, couriers and taxis cost €2,594 in 2012 and €4,009 in 2011.

Spending on travel, meetings and subsistence from the leader’s fund was €20,117 in 2012 and €13,487 in 2011.

But according to the detailed five-page accounts in the ardfheis programme, the party carried a balance forward at the end of 2012 of €734,731. It had a deficit of €540,345 the previous year.

Its income for 2012 included €2,678,403 from the leader’s allowance, €2,281,055 in Oireachtas funding for its Senators and TDs, and €1,171,068 in other funding, including membership fees of €383,487, party fund €128,680, national draw €543,854 and special events and other income of €115,047.

The 2011 deficit came after the 2011 general election, when the party spent €2,591,112 on campaigns and elections.

In his speech to the ardfheis Minister for Health James Reilly said he wanted to have a “national conversation” about reform of the health service, which he described as “our health service”.

Universal health insurance
Insisting on the need for universal health insurance, he said: “Some have argued that we cannot afford UHI. My answer is simple: we cannot afford the current system, even after all the savings we have made over the last few years.

“Without reform, taxes will go up and services will come down. It is inevitable. With the right kind of reform, however, we can lower costs even as we improve services, and deliver better, safer outcomes for patients.”

He said the system was not just unfair, “it is also deeply inefficient”. It had given Ireland “one of the highest-priced, most expensive health systems in the developed world – once you adjust for the fact that Ireland’s population is still much younger than most other developed countries. We cannot afford this broken health system – we must reform it.”

Referring to the report published yesterday on the Portlaoise hospital deaths, Dr Reilly said: “I am firmly committed to doing everything within my power to ensure that such tragedies never occur again.”