2003 Donation Statements

Donation Statements and Statements of Expenditure of Exchequer funding furnished by political parties for 2003

furnished to the Standards in Public Office Commission by political parties pursuant to section 24 of the Electoral Act, 1997 and Annual Statements of Expenditure of Exchequer Funding and Auditors' Reports, in respect of 2003, furnished to the Standards in Public Office Commission by qualified political parties pursuant to section 20 of the Electoral Act, 1997

Report by the Standards in Public Office Commission to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann pursuant to section 4(1) of the Electoral Act, 1997

Foreword

I am pleased to furnish this report to the Ceann Comhairle in accordance with section 4 (1) of the Electoral Act, 1997 (the 1997 Act), concerning, in respect of 2003, Annual Donation Statements and Statutory Declarations furnished to the Standards in Public Office Commission (the Standards Commission) by political parties pursuant to section 24 of the 1997 Act, and Annual Statements of Expenditure of Exchequer Funding and Auditors' Reports furnished to the Standards Commission by qualified political parties pursuant to section 20 of the 1997 Act.

This is the seventh year in which political parties have been required to prepare a statement of expenditure of funding received under the 1997 Act and to furnish details of donations received for political purposes. The Standards Commission welcomes the opportunity to place this information in the public domain. In terms of the effectiveness of the legislation, the fact that the information is required to be made available publicly is essential in ensuring that the principles of openness, accountability and transparency are central in the system of control and supervision of political funding which is now in place. As outlined in the report, the Standards Commission will facilitate dissemination of the information by posting the report in full on its website, www.sipo.ie, and by making the material available at its offices for inspection and copying.

____________________
Justice Matthew P. Smith
Chairman

PART 1. Introduction

Section 4(1) of the Electoral Act 1997 (the 1997 Act) requires the Standards Commission to consider every statement and notification furnished to it in relation to political donations and Exchequer funding and, where it considers it appropriate to do so, to furnish a report in writing to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann (Ceann Comhairle) on any matter arising.

This report relates to Donation Statements and Statutory Declarations and Statements of Expenditure of Exchequer Funding and Auditors' Reports, in respect of 2003, furnished to the Standards Commission by political parties, pursuant to section 20 and section 24 of the 1997 Act.

The 1997 Act was amended by the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 1998, the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2001, the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2002 and the Electoral (Amendment) (No.2) Act, 2002. In this report, reference to the 1997 Act includes reference to any amendments to that Act.

PART 2. Relevant provisions of the legislation

To assist a better understanding of the statutory requirements, the Standards Commission considers it useful to set out in this part of the report an account of the relevant legislation.

Reports

Section 4 of the 1997 Act provides that the Standards Commission shall consider every Exchequer Expenditure Statement and every Donation Statement furnished to it and, where it considers it appropriate to do so, shall furnish a report in writing to the Chairman of the Dáil on any matter arising in relation to such statements.

Disclosure of donations received by political parties

Section 22(2)(a) provides that a "donation" means a contribution for political purposes and includes money, property, goods, services, etc.

Section 22(2)(c) provides that a donation made to a political party, whether made directly or through an intermediary, is deemed to be a donation to the party if it is made to party headquarters or to any branch or subsidiary of the party, to any candidate of the party at a local election or direct election, to any member of the party who is a member of a local authority, or to any officer, member or agent of the party or of any branch or subsidiary thereof.

It also provides that a donation made to a TD, Senator or MEP will not be regarded as a donation to the person concerned if it is passed on to his or her political party and a written acknowledgement of the donation is received from the party. Such donations will be deemed to have been made to the party.

Section 22(2)(d) provides that the values of donations received from the same person in the same year must be aggregated and, if in excess of €5,078.95, the donations must be disclosed. [A "person" means an individual, a body corporate or an unincorporated body of persons.]

Section 23(1) provides that a political party must not accept, either directly or indirectly, an anonymous donation valued in excess of €126.97. If such a donation is received, it is required to be notified and remitted (or its value remitted) to the Standards Commission not later than 14 days after its receipt.

Section 23A(1) provides that the maximum value of donations which a political party may accept from the same donor in the same year is €6,348.69. Where a donor makes more than one donation to the same party in the same year the values of the donations must be aggregated and treated as a single donation.

Section 23A(2) provides that a political party must not accept a donation of any value from:

  • an individual (other than an Irish citizen) who resides outside the Island of Ireland, or
  • a body corporate or unincorporated body of persons which does not keep an office in the island of Ireland from which one or more of its principal activities is directed.

Section 23A(5) provides that where a donation is received which is prohibited because its value is over the limit, a political party must notify the Standards Commission within 14 days and remit the donation, or that part of a monetary donation which is over the limit, to the Standards Commission. As an alternative to notifying and remitting the donation, or that part of a monetary donation which is over the limit, to the Standards Commission, a political party must return the donation, or that part of a monetary donation which is over the limit, to the donor and keep a written record of that return for the purpose of its being furnished to the Standards Commission, if required.

Where a donation is received which is prohibited because it is a foreign donation, a political party must notify the Standards Commission within 14 days and must remit the donation to the Standards Commission. As an alternative to notifying and remitting the donation, to the Standards Commission, a political party must return the donation to the donor and keep a written record of that return for the purpose of its being furnished to the Standards Commission, if required.

Section 23B(1) provides that if a political party receives a monetary donation in excess of €126.97, in a calendar year, it must open and maintain an account in a financial institution in the State and must lodge that donation and any further monetary donations, of whatever value, to that account.

Section 23B(3) provides that Donation Statements furnished to the Standards Commission by political parties must be accompanied by a statement provided by the above mentioned financial institution specifying all transactions that have taken place in relation to the account during the year preceding the year in which the Donation Statement is furnished. The Donation Statement must also be accompanied by a Certificate, in a form directed by the Standards Commission, and signed by an officer of the political party, stating that all monetary donations, received during the year were lodged to the account and all amounts debited from the account were used for political purposes. This Certificate must be supported by a Statutory Declaration confirming its accuracy.

Section 24 provides that the appropriate officer of each political party (which is registered in the Register of Political Parties to contest a Dáil or European Parliament election) must furnish a Donation Statement to the Standards Commission not later than 31 March each year. The Donation Statement must show, in relation to the preceding calendar year, whether or not the party received any donations exceeding in value €5,078.95. For each such donation, the value and nature of the donation must be stated together with the name, address and a description of the donor.

Each Donation Statement must be accompanied by a Statutory Declaration that, to the best of the appropriate officer's knowledge and belief, the Donation Statement is correct in every material respect and that he/she has taken all reasonable action in order to be satisfied as to the accuracy of the Donation Statement.

Exchequer Funding of political parties

Section 16 of the 1997 Act defines a "qualified" political party as a party which is registered in the Register of Political Parties to contest a Dáil election and whose candidates received not less that 2% of the total first preference votes obtained by all candidates at the most recent Dáil general election (17 May 2002).

Section 17 provides that each qualified party will receive €126,973 plus a proportion of a fund not exceeding €3,809,214. The amount of funding payable to a qualified party is determined by expressing each qualified party's first preference votes as a proportion of the total first preference votes received by all qualified parties. Section 17 also provides that the fund of €3,809,214 will be increased in line with general pay increases in the civil service.

Section 18 provides that funding received must be applied to the general conduct and management of the party's affairs and the lawful pursuit by it of any of its objectives and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, any or all of the following purposes:

(1) general administration of the party;
(2) research, education and training;
(3) policy formulation, and
(4) co-ordination of the activities of branches and members of the party.

The funding received is deemed to include provision in respect of expenditure by qualified parties in relation to the promotion of participation by women and young persons in political activity.

Funding may not be applied to, or to recoup, election or referendum expenses.

Section 19(1) provides that payments are made to qualified parties in arrears on a quarterly basis by the Department of Finance.

Section 19(4) provides that no payment shall be made to a qualified political party after 30 April in any year unless and until that party has furnished to the Standards Commission an Exchequer Expenditure Statement and Public Auditor's Report, referred to in section 20, and a Donation Statement and Statutory Declaration, and the Standards Commission has furnished a copy thereof to the Minister for Finance and certified that the Statement and Report and the Donation Statement and Statutory Declaration were completed in accordance with the relevant provisions of the legislation and the guidelines published by the Standards Commission.

Section 20 provides that the appropriate officer of each qualifying party shall furnish to the Standards Commission an Exchequer Expenditure Statement stating that funding received in respect of the preceding year was applied to some or all of the purposes in section 18, referred to above, and indicating the actual matters to which the funding was applied (including the amounts applied to the promotion of participation by women and young persons in political activity). The Exchequer Expenditure Statement must be audited by a public auditor and a copy of the auditor's report must be furnished to the Standards Commission with the Exchequer Expenditure Statement. A copy of each Exchequer Expenditure Statement and Public Auditor's Report is required to be laid by the Standards Commission before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Miscellaneous

Section 71 provides that each political party must appoint an appropriate officer for, amongst other things, the purpose of furnishing the party's Donation Statement and Statutory Declaration and the Exchequer Expenditure Statement and Public Auditor's Report to the Standards Commission. Where no appropriate officer stands appointed at any time, the leader of the party is deemed to be the appropriate officer.

Section 73 provides that the Standards Commission must retain at its offices, for a period of three years, every Donation Statement and Statutory Declaration and Exchequer Expenditure Statement and Public Auditor's Report furnished to it and to make these documents available to the public for inspection and copying.

PART 3. Annual Donation Statements of Political Parties

Donation Statements and Statutory Declarations in respect of 2003

The Standards Commission wrote to the appropriate officer of each of the thirteen registered political parties on 21 January 2004 enclosing a Donation Statement and Statutory Declaration form (03/PP/DS) for completion and return by the statutory deadline of 31 March 2004.

Donation Statements have been received from each of the 13 political parties which were included in the Register of Political Parties during 2003 to contest a Dáil or European Parliament election. A summary of the donations disclosed by parties are at Tables 1 to 6 below.

The Standards Commission was not notified of receipt of any anonymous donations valued in excess of €126.97, or of receipt of any foreign donations (as described in section 23A(2)).

A question arose, following consideration of Donation Statements received in 2002, as to whether donations received by political parties in another jurisdiction fell to be disclosed here. Having taken legal advice in the matter, the Standards Commission concluded that donations made to political parties in Northern Ireland or to entities of political parties in the US or elsewhere, which are given and applied for the purpose of funding the political party's political / electoral activities outside this State, are not donations for the purposes of the Electoral Act, 1997, as amended, and are not required to be disclosed. As the sponsor of the legislation, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government was made aware of the legal advice received by the Standards Commission.

Political Donations Accounts/Certificate of Monetary Donations

The requirement to open a separate political donations account was introduced by section 23B of the 1997 Act, as amended, which commenced with effect from 1 January 2002. Once a political party receives a monetary donation of more than €126.97 after that date it is required to open and maintain a political donations account. The Donation Statement and Statutory Declaration furnished to the Standards Commission by the appropriate officer of the party must be accompanied by a Certificate of Monetary Donations and a Statutory Declaration, as well as a statement from the financial institution where the political party holds the political donations account.

PART 4. Exchequer Funding of Political Parties

Expenditure Statements for 2003

On 6 January 2004 the Standards Commission wrote to the appropriate officer of each of the six qualified political parties enclosing an Exchequer Expenditure Statement form (03/PP/EFS) for completion and return to the Standards Commission not later than 31 March 2004. This is not a statutory deadline. It was selected by the Standards Commission because it coincides with the date by which political parties must furnish Donation Statements to the Standards Commission. It was also chosen by the Standards Commission to ensure that political parties had adequate time to furnish the Statements before 30 April 2004, having regard to the fact that future payments could otherwise be delayed by virtue of section 19(4) of the 1997 Act, which provides that no payment can be made to a party after 30 April in any year unless, by that date, the Exchequer Expenditure Statement and Public Auditor's Report and the Donation Statement and Statutory Declaration for the preceding year have been received by the Standards Commission.

The Statements of Expenditure provided by the appropriate officers of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, The Labour Party and the Progressive Democrats did not contain sufficient information under each heading of the actual matters to which the expenditure was applied. Accordingly, they were asked to provide more specific details under certain headings. The relevant information was subsequently provided.

A breakdown of payments received by qualified parties in respect of 2003 is provided at Table 7 and Table 8 below.

PART 5. Furnishing of Statutory Documentation to the Minister for Finance

As provided for in the legislation, the Standards Commission has furnished a copy of each Exchequer Expenditure Statement and accompanying Public Auditor's Report and Donation Statement and Statutory Declaration received from qualified political parties to the Minister for Finance.

The Standards Commission has also certified to the Minister for Finance that each Exchequer Expenditure Statement and accompanying Public Auditor's Report and Donation Statement and Statutory Declaration was completed in accordance with the Standards Commission's guidelines and that they comply with the relevant provisions of the legislation.

PART 6. Laying of Donation Statements and Statutory Declarations before the Houses of the Oireachtas

As provided for in the legislation, the Standards Commission has, today, laid the Donation Statements and Statutory Declarations and the Exchequer Expenditure Statements and accompanying Public Auditor's Reports of each of the qualifying parties before each House of the Oireachtas.

PART 7. Public Inspection of Statutory Documentation

The Donation Statements and Statutory Declarations and Exchequer Expenditure Statements and Public Auditors' Reports furnished to the Standards Commission may be inspected and copied by members of the public at the Standards Commission's offices at 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, on Mondays to Fridays from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 2.30 pm to 4.00 pm. The information contained in the documents is also available, in summary form, on the Standards Commission's website www.sipo.ie

Tables detailing donations disclosed by political parties (2003)

Table 1: Disclosure of donations received by political parties in 2003

Political PartyAppropriate OfficerTotal value of donations
disclosed
Christian Democrats
(The National Party)
Mr. Daniel DesmondNil
Christian Solidarity PartyMr. Ronald HoganNil
Communist Party of IrelandMr. Eugene McCartanNil
Fianna FáilMr. Noel Beecher8,579* (*of which €2,300 was returned)
Fine GaelMr. Tom CurranNil
Green PartyMr. Martin C. Nolan43,296
Labour PartyMr. Michael Allen6,348.69
Progressive DemocratsMr. John HigginsNil
Sinn FéinMr. Desmond Mackin103,583.87
Socialist PartyMr. Michael Murphy6,200
Socialist Workers PartyMs. Bríd SmithNil
South Kerry Independent AllianceMr. Donie DoodyNil
The Workers PartyMr. John LowryNil
 Total value of donations disclosed162,007.56(*of which €2,300 was returned)

Table 2: List of donations disclosed by Fianna Fáil

Value of Donation
Type of DonationName of DonorDescription of DonorAddress of Donor
3,500Profit from FundraiserAirscape Ltd.Companyc/o Harcourt Developments Ltd.,
18-19 Harcourt Street,
Dublin 2
5,079Bank TransferAirscape Ltd.Companyc/o Harcourt Developments Ltd.,
18-19 Harcourt Street,
Dublin 2

Note: €2,300 was returned to Airscape Ltd.

Table 3: List of donations disclosed by Sinn Féin

Value of Donation
Type of DonationName of DonorDescription of DonorAddress of Donor
6,296.23ChequeBairbre de BrunIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,308.95ChequeGerry KellyIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequeMitchel McLaughlinIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequeGerry AdamsIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequeMartin McGuinnessIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequePat DohertyIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequeMichelle GildernewIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequeAlex MaskeyIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequeFrancie MolloyIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequeMarie NellisIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequeBarry McIlduffIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,063ChequeConnor MurphyIndividualAdmin. Office Room 266, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX
6,348.69Cheque and Standing OrderCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin, T.D.IndividualLeinster House,
Dublin 2.
6,000Standing OrderMartin Ferris, T.D.IndividualLeinster House,
Dublin 2.
6,000Standing OrderArthur Morgan, T.D.IndividualLeinster House,
Dublin 2.
6,000Standing OrderAengus Ó Snodaigh, T.D.IndividualLeinster House,
Dublin 2.
6,000Standing OrderSeán Crowe, T.D.IndividualLeinster House,

Table 4: List of donations disclosed by the Labour Party

Value of Donation
Type of DonationName of DonorDescription of DonorAddress of Donor
6,348.69ChequePrionsias De Rossa, MEPIndividual43 Molesworth Street,
Dublin 2.

Table 5: List of donations disclosed by the Green Party

Value of Donation
Type of
Donation
Name of DonorDescription of DonorAddress of Donor
6,348ChequeNuala Ahern, MEPIndividual5 Oaklands, Greystones,
Co. Wicklow.
6,348Monthly Standing OrderPatricia McKenna, MEPIndividualEU Parliament Office,
41 - 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.
5,100Monthly Standing OrderDan Boyle, T.D.IndividualDáil Éireann,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.
5,100Monthly Standing OrderCiaran Cuffe, T.D.IndividualDáil Éireann,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.
5,100Monthly Standing OrderPaul Gogarty, T.D.IndividualDáil Éireann,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.
5,100ChequeJohn Gormley, T.D.IndividualDáil Éireann,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.
5,100Monthly Standing OrderTrevor Sargent, T.D.IndividualDáil Éireann,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.
5,100Monthly Standing OrderEamon Ryan, T.D.IndividualDáil Éireann,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.

Table 6: List of donations disclosed by the Socialist Party

Value of Donation
Type of DonationName of DonorDescription of DonorAddress of Donor
6,200ChequesJoe Higgins, T.D.Individual155 Briarwood Close,
Dublin 15.

Table 7: Exchequer funding of qualified political parties under the Electoral Acts in 2003

Qualified Political PartiesTotal funding
received
Amount of funding brought forward from 2002
Overall total funding available for spending in 2003
Total expenditure in 2003, if any, of funding received
Balance of funding carried forward to 2004
Fianna Fáil1,972,279391,972,3181,481,922490,396
Fine Gael1,126,877287,2611,414,1381,158,611255,527
Labour Party606,324133,326739,650617,184122,466
Progressive Democrats303,264Nil303,264303,264Nil
Green Party298,114112,005410,119410,119Nil
Sinn Féin416,566Nil416,566416,566Nil
Total4,723,424532,6315,256,0554,387,666868,389

Table 8: Spending by political parties of Exchequer funding under the Electoral Acts in 2003

(The letters in row 1 represent the headings below under which expenditure is permitted by section 18 of the Electoral Acts)

(a) general administration of the party
(b) research, education and training
(c) policy formulation
(d) co-ordination of the activities of branches and members of the party
(e) promotion of participation of women
(f) promotion of participation of young people

Qualified Political
Party
a

b

c

d

e

f

Amount of total
funding spent
Fianna Fáil1,432,496NilNil34,84914,577Nil1,481,922
Fine Gael681,97625,236Nil380,13612,82658,4371,158,611
Labour Party396,69246,47756,52951,23137,68828,567617,184
PDs161,63210,00015,213116,419NilNil303,264
Green Party332,787Nil42472,3989783,532410,119
Sinn Féin222,46330,10848,43781,16927,4426,947416,566
Total3,228,046111,821120,603736,20293,51197,4834,387,666