Catherine Murphy seeks to reform party funding and TD allowances, Government refuses to take amendments.
Press Release | 11th July 2012
Earlier today Catherine Murphy TD, with the support of her Independent colleague Stephen Donnelly TD, proposed a number of amendments to the Electoral (Amendment)(Political Funding) Bill 2011 aimed at addressing several anomalies in the current system of political funding. Deputy Murphy expressed her disappointment when Minister Hogan, along with support from both government and opposition party TDs, refused to accept the proposed changes.
The stream of funding paid to political parties known as ‘Electoral Acts Funding’ involves a fund of €4.89 million per year being divided between political parties who, at the preceding general election, received at least 2% of first-preference votes. Interestingly however, the way this substantial fund is divided up means the four parties that currently receive funding under this stream (Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour and Fine Gael), although having between them received 83% of first-preference votes in the 2011 General Election, take 100% of the fund.
“I acknowledge the need for party funding and in no circumstances am I advocating for this funding stream to be rolled out to Independent politicians too, so in tabling the amendments I have simply sought to have this system altered so that the four “qualifying parties” receive only 83% of the fund and that the excess 17% be returned to the State. This would result in a net saving of €831, 287.33 per annum for the Exchequer.”
Other amendments submitted to the Bill by the Deputy included a proposal to fully reform the Party Leaders Allowance fund in order to reduce the amount payable to TDs; to introduce a system whereby Independent TDs are required to vouch for spending under the Party Leaders Allowance; and to abolish the Whips and Committee Chairpersons allowances. All of these proposals were ruled out of order. Deputy Murphy expressed her hope to advance the amendments at the next appropriate opportunity.
Political Funding in Ireland: An Analysis
Stephen Donnelly Analysis of Political Funding
PQs from Catherine Murphy on Political Funding
Houses of the Oireachtas – Staffing Levels for Political Parties