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Fianna Fáil and Labour spent €1.1m on EU elections and they've no MEPs to show for it

Neither topped the spending charts though.

Eamon Gilmore didn't survive as Labour leader in the aftermath of the May elections. (File photo)
Eamon Gilmore didn't survive as Labour leader in the aftermath of the May elections. (File photo)
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL AND Labour spent a combined €1.1 million in this year’s EU elections and they currently have no MEPs to represent them in Brussels.

The biggest spending party was Fine Gael which spent a total of €882, 965 to secure its four seats across the Ireland.

Fianna Fáil, despite only successfully returning Brian Crowley in Ireland South, had the second largest outlay at €705,793 in running five candidates.

Crowely has since ‘effectively expelled himself‘ from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party after he joined the European Parliament’s ECR grouping against Fianna Fáil’s wishes.

The figures are contained in a report by the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) into May’s European elections.

In Dublin alone, Fianna Fáil and Labour spent a total of €420, 679 in failing to get Mary Fitzpatrick and Emer Costello elected.

Fitzpatrick’s campaign spent €218,545 while Costello’s spent €202,034.

Fitzpatrick’s was the most expensive single campaign in the country, more so even than the successful race run by Fine Gael’s Deidre Clune in Ireland South which rang in at €206,461.

On the other end of the spectrum, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan spent the least amount in getting elected at €38,093.

Sinn Féin’s campaign for Liadh Ní Riada in Ireland South was just behind Ming in the frugality stakes at €51, 620 while party colleague Lynn Boylan was third cheapest at €61,973.

In total, €2.9 million was spent by all the candidates in this year’s contests.

PastedImage-20063 Source: Sipo

Candidates who secured enough votes to secure the reimbursement of their expenses are entitled to a maximum of €38,092 returned.

A total of 25 candidates received that amount while Diarmuid O’Flynn of ‘Ballyhea Says No‘  is entitled to total refunds of €21,821. 

€974,121 will be paid by the Exchequer to the 26 candidates who qualify for reimbursement.

Smaller parties and Independents

The Sipo figures also demonstrate the gulf in spending power between larger parties and Independents.

In the Ireland south for constituency for example, 15 candidates spent a total of €975,825 but over half of it (€511,402) was spent by Fine Gael’s three candidates alone.

The country’s lowest two spenders were also in this constituency, Independents Richard Cahill at €624 and Dónal O’Ríordáin at €799.

Five of the unsuccessful candidates who furnished donation statements disclosed that they had received a donation in relation to the election. The largest value of donations disclosed was by Senator Rónán Mullen with €10,500.

Read: It’s the first day of the new European Parliament and these Irish MEPs were really excited >

Read: Fewer young people are registering to vote – so what’s the solution? >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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