Parties received €14m State funds in 2012
Standards Commission report finds Fine Gael top of list for political funding
As the largest party in the Oireachtas, Fine Gael came top of the list for state funding with a total of € 4.9 million paid to the party last year. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Political parties received almost €14 million in state funding last year, according to official figures released today by the Standards Commission.
A total of €12,963,160 was paid out to a range of parties under two schemes designed to fund the political system while just under €1 million was paid to Independent members of the Dail and Seanad.
Six parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, People before Profit Alliance, Sinn Féin, The Labour Party and the Socialist Party received €7,507,063 under the Party Leader’s Allowance legislation.
Four parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and the Labour Party, received funding of €5,456,097 under the Electoral Acts.
Independents elected to the Dáil and Seanad also receive funding under the Party Leaders Allowance legislation. The amount payable to each such non-party member of Dáil Éireann during 2012 was €41,152 and the amount payable to each non-party member of Seanad Éireann during the same period was €23,383.
The total paid to non-party members was €928,154 (of which funding amounting to a total of €652,553 was available to non-party members of the Dáil during 2012 and funding amounting to a total of €275,601 was available to non -party members of the Seanad during 2012).
The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012 introduced a new requirement that the annual sum will decrease in line with general pay reductions in the civil service. There were no increases or decreases applied to the fund in 2012.
The funding is not subject to income tax and may not be used for electoral or referendum purposes. Qualified political parties must furnish to the Standards Commission Statements of Expenditure of the funding received.
However, Independents are not required, however, to provide a statement of expenditure of the allowance to the Standards Commission, or to any other authority.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has announced his intention to audit the payments to non-party members of the Oireachtas in receipt of the allowance.
Details of the funding and how it was spent are contained in two reports published today by the Standards Commission. These reports are available on www.sipo.gov.ie.