Yes and No campaigners register as ‘third parties’ with watchdog

Total of 25 individuals and organisations register with the Standards in Public Office Commission

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar calling  for  a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar calling for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

A total of 25 individuals and organisations campaigning in the referendum on on the Eighth Amendment have registered as “third parties” with the State’s ethics watchdog.

A third party must register with the Standards in Public Office Commission if a a donation exceeding €100 is accepted which is directed towards a political purpose.

A total of 13 organisations and individuals campaigning for a Yes vote have registered, while 12 have registered who are campaigning on the No side.

As well as the main umbrellas organisations such as Save the 8th and and Pro Life campaign, the list on the No side includes groups such as: Abortion Never; the Alliance for Defence of the Family and Marriage; Cherish all the Children Equally; the Iona Institute; Mothers and Fathers Matter; and the Life Institute.

On the Yes side, those registered include the main coalition, Together for Yes, the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth; the Abortion Rights Campaign; Amnesty International Ireland; Choice Ireland; the National Women’s Council of Ireland; ROSA; Women’s Health in Ireland; and Terminations for Medical Reasons. One individual, Janet O’Sullivan, has registered.

Any registered third party has annual reporting requirements to the commission. They are subject to donation limits and prohibitions on the acceptance of donations from anonymous sources, donations from abroad unless they are sent by an Irish citizen. There are also limits on corporate donations, as well as individual donations.

According to SIPO: “The Electoral Acts do not require a third party to account to the Standards Commission for expenditure on their referendum campaign or on the content of their campaign.”

In all, 13 of the groups have registered during 2018. The most recent have been Women’s Health in Ireland, the Life Institute, and the Irish Family Planning Association, all of which registered during April.