Electoral Act and funding for advocacy

 

Sir, – Liam Herrick, Colm O’Gorman and John Devitt, in their letter of August 27th, complain of the funding restrictions on advocacy for political purposes under the Electoral Act.

The ceiling of €2,500 for a domestic contribution may, indeed, be low. I don’t see that it needed to be reduced from the previous figure.

But foreign funding for political purposes simply should not be allowed, either during election/referendum campaigns or before them. To claim that throwing money at an issue for ten years prior to a referendum, but not during it, does not influence the outcome, would be nothing short of childish. As regards the need to align our domestic law and foreign policy principles, this is a red herring. Ireland is an advanced democracy and one of the rich countries of the world; our citizens are well placed to engage in civil society groupings. Irish Aid’s role is to help societies that do not have the resources to do that.

If we genuinely care about democracy we will need to address the interface here at home between the Electoral Act and the Charities Act. Currently, as an Irish citizen, I cannot leave in my will more than €2,500 to my own organisation to advocate for immigration control, but if I were a foreign billionaire, I could leave my entire estate to any one of the many organisations that advocate for an opposite position, because they are registered as charities. – Yours, etc,

ÁINE NÍ CHONAILL,

Immigration Control

Platform,

PO Box 6469,

Dublin 2.