Follow The Money

Something strange is going on in the funding of the political parties.

Fianna Fáil, for instance, declared it received donations of €19044 during last year’s general election, from three donors.

Yet in the same election, it spent €3 millon.

A similar picture emerges with the other parties.

In fact, there’s a gap of €8.8 million between the amounts declared and the amounts spent.

This is because the parties don’t have to declare any donation of less than €5078.95.

And then they complain about Libertas.

Two decades ago, the picture was quite different, and donations in the tens of thousands of pounds were commonplace, if the evidence at the tribunals is any guide.

The Standards in Public Office Commission has called for greater transparency, believing that parties are deliberately soliciting donations just under the reporting threshold.

What are they ashamed of?

And does anyone really believe that all the parties have so few large benefactors?

In Britain, similar rules led to the scandal of proxy donations, where donors hid large amounts of cash from the eyes of regulators by contributing in the names of employees.

Can we be sure that we won’t see a similar scandal here in a few years?

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.