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Fine Gael spent €200,000 of their state funding on polling last year

They also got donations of €98,000.

Image: Sam Boal

FINE GAEL TOOK in over €98,000 in political donations in 2015 and spent over €200,000 on polling new figures show.

The Standards in Public Office Commission has released details of money paid to parties by the state, with Fine Gael topping the pile.

The documents cover 2015, so do not take in the run-up to February’s election.

The documents show that political parties received €12.286 million in state funding for 2015. The money was paid to the parties under the Electoral Act 1997 and under the Parliamentary Activities Allowance legislation.

Independent Members of the Dáil received €561,728 and independent members of the Seanad received €252,540.

Of that €12.286 million, €5.4 million was paid to the four biggest parties – Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour and Sinn Féin, under the Electoral Act. The funding is not subject to income tax and may not be used for electoral or referendum purposes.

Fine Gael

Fine Gael received a further €2.3 million under the Parliamentary Activities Allowance.

Their return shows they brought €889,000 over from 2014 and spent a total of €2.5 million.

The bulk of that, €1.8 million, was spent on “support services” – staff, IT, admin, press and youth offices – while €250,000 was spent on policy formation, €200,000 on polling, €178,000 on consultants and €119,000 on admin. The party brought forward €719,000 to this year.

Donations documents also published show that the party took in €98,000, almost all of that from their own party TDs or MEPs.

Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil took in €1.5 million, carrying over €40,000 from 2014. They spent €1.4 million on administration, almost €40,000 on consultants and €18,000 on transport and other expenditure.

The party declared no donations.

Labour

Labour, then the junior coalition partner, took in €1.5 million and brought €1.7 million over. They spent €1.49 million on admin, €262,000 on research and training and another €181,000 on policy formation.

Labour took in €7,500 in donations.

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin received €975,919 and spent €172,000 of that on policy formation. The rest went on administration.

The party declared no donations.

AAA-PBP

The parties of the left received varying amounts, with the Anti-Austerity Alliance getting €48,000 and the AAA-People Before Profit coalition getting €64,000.

The Stop the Water Tax – Socialist Party took in €37,000 in donations, with a number of party councillors contributing along with small donors.

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