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Fianna Fáil spends the most on two by-elections - but fails to nab a seat

Its members spent the most in the Dublin West and Longford Westmeath by-elections, the Standards in Public Office Commission said.

Fianna Fail's Dublin West by-election candidate Cllr. David McGuinness, 2nd from right, is pictured with the late Brian Lenihan's sister Anita at the City West Hotel count centre
Fianna Fail's Dublin West by-election candidate Cllr. David McGuinness, 2nd from right, is pictured with the late Brian Lenihan's sister Anita at the City West Hotel count centre
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL MEMBERS spent the most out of all the candidates in the recent Dublin West and Longford Westmeath by-elections, but failed to get elected.

That’s according to figures released in a report today by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO).

The Dublin West by-election was held after independent TD Patrick Nulty resigned, while the death of Fine Gael TD Nicky McFadden meant a vote had to be held in Longford Westmeath.

The Dublin West vote was won by Ruth Coppinger of Stop the Water Tax – Socialist Party, and just behind her was Fianna Fáil’s David McGuinness.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle McFadden, Nicky’s sister, won in Longford Westmeath. Fianna Fáil’s Aengus O’Rourke was in second place behind McFadden.

The figures show that total expenditure disclosed by election agents and national agents at the Dublin West and Longford Westmeath by-elections amounted to €275,867.

Meanwhile, the total donations disclosed amounted to €11,690.

The Standards Commission said it found no evidence that any election agent or national agent overspent at the election.

Election spending

“The spending limit per candidate in both constituencies was €37,650,” said SIPO.

  • Highest expenditure in Dublin West: on behalf of David McGuinness, Fianna Fáil (€37,107).
  • Highest expenditure in Longford Westmeath: on behalf of Aengus O’Rourke, Fianna Fáil (€37,405).

Ruth Coppinger spent €22,984, while Gabrielle McFadden of Fine Gael spent €28,799.

Donations

The largest value of donations disclosed was by David Hall with €11,000.

“Two of the unsuccessful candidates who furnished Donation Statements disclosed that they had received a donation valued in excess of €600 in relation to the by-election,” said SIPO

Reimbursement of expenses

When it came to expenses, SIPO said that a total of €109,903 will be paid by the Exchequer to 14 candidates who qualified for a reimbursement of election expenses.

It said that 11 candidates qualify for the maximum reimbursement of €8,700.

A copy of SIPO’s report, which includes summary details of the Donation Statements and Election Expenses Statements, can be found on its website.

Read: Fianna Fáil and Labour spent €1.1m on EU elections and they’ve no MEPs to show for it>

Read: Why did the political ethics watchdog get 427 complaints in 2012, but just 29 last year?>

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