The six candidates with Pat Kenny at a debate prior to last year's election Brian McEvoy Photography

Here's who spent the most in the 2018 presidential campaign

SIPO today released details of the expenses and donations during the 2018 presidential election campaign.

BETWEEN THEM, PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins and Peter Casey qualified for reimbursement of €319,911.30 after they both polled so strongly in last year’s presidential election.

Candidates who are elected, or reach 12.5% of the vote, are eligible to get their expenses reimbursed and only Higgins and Casey eclipsed this in last year’s election.

The Standards in Public Office Commission today released details of the spending from candidates in the presidential election, and the donations they received.

Casey, Higgins, Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Seán Gallagher and Liadh Ní Riada contested the election.

Here’s what they spent:

  • Peter Casey – €119,911
  • Gavin Duffy – €163,438
  • Joan Freeman – €253,194
  • Seán Gallagher – €246,820
  • Michael D Higgins – €367,338
  • Liadh Ní Riada – €209,716

The maximum reimbursement of expenses that can be given is €200,000 so Michael D Higgins got around 55% of his expenses back. Casey got the full €119,911 reimbursed.

Only three of the candidates declared any donations above €600. Joan Freeman received €24,000, Seán Gallagher received €9,000 and Michael D Higgins received €41,300. Donors to Higgins included €1,000 from Galway Business School.

The full list of donors and the amounts given can be found here

A breakdown of election expenses was also given. Michael D Higgins spent the most on advertising (€49,869) while Joan Freeman spent the most on publicity (€61,016). Freeman also spent €90,734 on campaign workers during the election. 

election spending SIPO SIPO

Michael D Higgins spent €75,342.97 on posters, from design and production to logistics.

His campaign spent a further €53,000 on leaflets and €42,000 on dissemination. And, between communications staff and operational staff, his campaign spent €25,000.

michael d spending SIPO SIPO

Many of the candidates advertised on social media during the campaign, with Joan Freeman spending over €20,000 on Facebook adverts, and over €1,000 on Twitter adverts. Liadh Ní Riada also spent over €6,000 on Facebook. 

Higgins topped the vote and won with a landslide 55.8% in last year’s election. Casey came second with 23%. Sean Gallagher (6.4%) was followed by Liadh Ní Riada (6.4%), Joan Freeman (6%) and Gavin Duffy (2.2%).

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