Political watchdog raises concerns about party spending legislation

The political watchdog has revealed how seven political parties combined spent €5.8 million in routine government funding last year – but has again complained about shortcomings in current legislation.

Ine Gael spent the most at €1.1m, closely followed by Sinn Féin at €1.09m. Next came Fianna Fáil with €944,000.

The Greens came in at €539,000 ahead of the Labor Party at €527,000. The Social Democrats and People Before Profit/Solidarity spent less than 250,000 euros each.

But the Commission for Standards in Public Offices (Sipo) complained that the underlying legislation was inadequate and was silent on capital spending compared to current and other issues.

It has “repeated concerns that there are no non-compliance consequences for qualifying parties who fail to comply with reporting requirements and do not qualify for funding in the following year.”

Catherine Murphy, the Social Democrats’ deputy leader, immediately called for an urgent response to the Sipo’s repeated concerns.

Meanwhile, Transparency International Ireland’s John Devitt called for reform of the ethics regime, which he said had not been updated or tightened in 20 years and was piling up problems likely to bring the policy into disrepute again.

Funds granted for administration in the past year may not be used for electoral or referendum purposes. Unused funds can be rolled over for use that year.

A fifth of last year’s allocations were unspent but remain available for ‘general administration’.

In a second report, the Sipo reported on the funding of party leaders and independent members of the Oireachtas.

Sinn Féin received €2 million, Fianna Fáil €1.8 million and Fine Gael €1.6 million based on party performance in the 2020 general election. Greens got €668,000; labor €609,000; the Social Democrats 387,000 euros and people before profit/solidarity 322,000 euros.

Registered political parties qualify if they have at least one member elected in Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann, as is the case with Aontú, led by Peadar Tóibín TD. Independent members of the Oireachtas are also eligible due to a previous political deal.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/political-watchdog-raises-concerns-about-party-spending-legislation-41937988.html Political watchdog raises concerns about party spending legislation

Fry Electronics Team

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