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Election candidate demands prosecution proceedings... against himself

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, who ran in Cork South-Central, says legislation requiring him to disclose donations is unconstitutional.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla wants to be prosecuted so that he can challenge Irish electoral law.
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla wants to be prosecuted so that he can challenge Irish electoral law.
Image: People's Convention

A NON-PARTY CANDIDATE in last year’s general election has demanded that the State bring criminal proceedings against him, claiming requirements that he must disclose any election donations are unconstitutional.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, who ran in Cork South-Central, says the legislation establishing the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) is based on Electoral Acts which themselves are in breach of the Constitution.

Ó Cadhla, who ran on the ‘People’s Convention’ platform alongside three others in Cork, says the Constitution does not make any mention of political parties, and that the Dáil should be elected of people who represent constituencies, as opposed to themselves or a political party.

Ó Cadhla, a business systems consultant, said this meant “private clubs should not be allowed to usurp either the selection or election process, and they should not be given state funding or preferential status”.

In protest at the control exerted by political parties, Ó Cadhla has refused to complete the form disclosing any donations he received in the course of last year’s election campaign.

Candidates in elections are given 60 days to formally declare their donations to SIPO, but the commission does not usually refer any breaches of this rule to the Director of Public Prosecutions unless it is not provided after a number of reminders.

Ó Cadhla says Gardaí have repeatedly visited his home seeking the donations statement, but that a summons has not yet been issued against him.

“If the SIPO legislation means anything then prosecution should proceed as provided for, otherwise the law means nothing and the cost of the SIPO Commission is itself a waste of public funds,” he said.

Ó Cadhla accrued 508 votes in the five-seater constituency, being eliminated on the fourth count. He also ran in the NUI panel in the subsequent Seanad election, picking up 182 first preferences.

Candidates on the People’s Convention platform campaigned on a ticket of ‘restoring democracy’ to the country.

Read: Ireland’s politicians disclose €378,920 in donations for 2011

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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