Fine Gael saw its deficit rise to €1.2 million in 2016, whereas Fianna Fáil was in position to deliver a surplus of €500,000 according to the annual financial accounts released on Thursday.
This drop in finances, according to Fine Gael’s report, has been a result of the ‘disappointing’ election, with the number of members in the Oireachtas falling lower than anticipated, and funding being affected by this.
According to a party spokesman, “Fine Gael also has a strong fundraising function, raising €1.4m gross in 2016.” The party took out a loan of €1.6 million to cover election expenses.
According to the publication of Fine Gael’s 2016 donors and donations, they publicly declared receiving €65,324 as a party, and its TDs declared receiving €23,190.
Interestingly, Fianna Fáil didn’t declare any funding as a party in 2016 (declarations are only mandatory if over €1,500 from the same individual in that year).
Eleven Fianna Fáil TDs, the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghail and Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee, declared that they personally were donated a total of €19,500. This is the only record of donations associated with Fianna Fáil that has been made public from 2016.
With the news emerging that Fianna Fáil are in a better financial position than Fine Gael after the cost of the 2016 election, it’s interesting to note that Fianna Fáil declared that they didn’t receive any substantial donations (over €1,500 by the same person), whereas a small party like the Socialist Party received €39,518 in donations.
Fianna Fáil have stated that 72% of their donations are small figures, but “made by a large number of people”. However, in these records of donations from 2016, there is no indication that more substantial donations (the other 28%) were made at all that year.
By Mary-Kate Findon