2011 Donation Statements

Donation Statements furnished by Political Parties for 2011

Annual Donation Statements and Statutory Declarations, in respect of 2011, furnished to the Standards in Public Office Commission by political parties pursuant to section 24 of the Electoral Act 1997

Report to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann pursuant to section 4(1) of the Electoral Act 1997

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Political Parties Donation Statements 2011

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Foreword

I am pleased to furnish this report to the Ceann Comhairle in accordance with section 4(1) of the Electoral Act 1997. The report relates to annual Donation Statements/Statutory Declarations, in respect of 2011, furnished to the Standards in Public Office Commission by political parties pursuant to section 24 of the Act. 

M. P. Smith
Chairman

Part 1 - Introduction

Not later than 31 March each year, political parties are required by section 24(1)(b) of the Electoral Act 1997, as amended, (the Act) to furnish a Donation Statement covering the previous calendar year to the Standards Commission. During 2011 there were 14 political parties registered to contest Dáil or European elections which were obliged to furnish a Donation Statement, in respect of 2011, to the Standards Commission. Section 4(1) of the Act requires the Standards Commission to consider every Donation Statement furnished to it 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.

Part 2 - Donations disclosed by political parties

Donations received by a political party exceeding an aggregate value of €5,078.95 are required to be disclosed. The maximum value of donations which a political party can accept from the same person in the same calendar year is €6,348.69. Donations received from the same donor in the same calendar year must be aggregated for the purposes of observing the disclosure and maximum acceptance limits. The total value of donations disclosed by parties during 2011 was €30,997, the lowest amount disclosed since the introduction of the disclosure requirement 15 years ago and despite the fact that 2011 was a general election year. Neither of the two main political parties (Fine Gael nor the Labour Party) disclosed any donations in 2011.

Under section 25 of the Electoral Act, 1997, it is an offence for the appropriate officer of a political party to fail to furnish a Donation Statement/Statutory Declaration and Certificate of Monetary Donations/Statutory Declaration to the Standards Commission by the specified date. The Communist Party of Ireland has not yet furnished a Donation Statement/Statutory Declaration to the Standards Commission. The Standards Commission will refer a file to the Gardaí on the Communist Party's failure to comply with the statutory requirements.

The preamble to the Electoral Act 1997 states that the Act is, among other things, "An Act to ... make provision for payments to political parties and candidates, to make provision for disclosure of donations for political purposes, to regulate expenditure at elections by political parties and candidates ...". While political parties have benefitted significantly from the provisions relating to funding from the Exchequer (see the separate Standards Commission reports on this), the Commission believe that the provisions aimed at ensuring transparency and openness in relation to disclosure of donations remain ineffective. Currently, it is difficult for any citizen to have a clear picture of election spending by each candidate and party or a clear indication of the sources for such funding.

Tables 1 and 2 of the Appendix show the donations disclosed by political parties for 2011.

Part 3 - Accounting Units

Section 23B(2) of the Act requires the appropriate officer of each political party to notify the Standards Commission of the name and address of each of its "accounting units" and the "responsible person" of each accounting unit. The "responsible person" is the treasurer or any other person responsible for dealing with donations to the unit.

An accounting unit, on receipt of a monetary donation in excess of €126.97, must open and maintain a political donations account in a financial institution in the State. The responsible person must, by 31 March each year, furnish a statement from the financial institution in which the account is held together with the Certificate of Monetary Donations, to the Standards Commission, stating that all monetary donations received during the preceding year were lodged to the account and that all amounts debited from the account were used for political purposes. The Certificate of Monetary Donations is accompanied by a Statutory Declaration. It is an offence for the responsible person of an accounting unit to fail to comply with this requirement.

Table 3 of the Appendix gives details of the number of accounting units of each party from which the Standards Commission received returns for 2011. Five political parties have accounting units and the position with regard to returns received from these accounting units is as set out in table 3. The Standards Commission is still pursuing accounting units which have not provided the relevant documentation.

Part 4 - Publication of Statutory Documentation

In accordance with section 24(7)(a) of the Act, the Standards Commission has today laid the Donation Statements/Statutory Declarations furnished by political parties before each House of the Oireachtas.

In accordance with section 73 of the Act, the Standards Commission has made the Donation Statements/Statutory Declarations available for public inspection and copying at its offices on 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. The information is also available on www.sipo.gov.ie

In accordance with section 23(B)(8) of the Act, details of Certificates of Monetary Donations and bank statements furnished to the Standards Commission by political parties and their accounting units will not be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas nor put on public display.

Appendices

Table 1 - Summary of donations disclosed by Political Parties for 2011

Political PartyAppropriate OfficerTotal disclosed
Christian Democrats (the
National Party)
Mr. Daniel DesmondNil
Fís NuaMs. Cordelia Nic FhearraighNil
Fianna FáilMr. Seán Dorgan€6,348
Fine GaelMr. Tom CurranNil 
People Before Profit AllianceMs. Ailbhe Smith Nil 
Socialist Workers PartyMs. Bríd SmithNil
South Kerry Independent AllianceMr. Donie DoodyNil
Sinn FéinMs. Treasa Quinn€12,000
The Christian Solidarity PartyMr. Chris PembrokeNil
The Communist Party of Ireland Mr. Eugene McCartanNot yet received
The Green Party Mr. Martin NolanNil 
The Labour Party Ms. Ita McAuliffe Nil
The Socialist PartyMr. Kevin McLoughlin€12,649
The Workers Party Mr. John Lowry Nil 
Total  €30,997

Table 2 - Details of donations disclosed by political parties


Fianna Fáil
Value of Donation
Type of DonationDescription of DonorName & Address of
Donor
6,348ChequeIndividualEdward B. Quinlan, 1 Mount Oval, Rochestown, Co. Cork
Total  €6,348
Sinn Féin
Value of Donation
Type of DonationDescription of DonorName & Address of
Donor
6,000ChequeIndividual/TDMartin Ferris, Leinster House,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2
6,000Standing OrderIndividual/TDAengus O'Snodaigh, Leinster House,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2
Total  €12,000
The Socialist Party
Value of Donation
Type of DonationDescription of DonorName & Address of
Donor
6,348.65Bank TransferIndividual/MEP/TDJoe Higgins, 155
Briarwood Close,
Mulhuddart, Dublin 15
6,300.00Bank TransferIndividual/MEP Paul Murphy, 6 The Copse, Woodpark, Ballinteer, Dublin 16
Total  €12,648.65

Table 3 - Accounting Units returns for 2011

Political PartyReturns Received
by 29 April 2011
Returns Not Received
by 29 April 2011
Returns Not Received by 30 April 2012
Fianna Fáil4400
Fine Gael4941
Sinn Féin1121
The Green Party12511
The Labour Party2963
Total1451716