In a previous version of this article, we incorrectly asserted that Deputy Michelle Mulherin had not properly registered rental properties with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) and that she was in breach of regulations governing landlords. Furthermore, our article failed to acknowledge a statement from Deputy Mulherin that she is compliant in relation to landlord regulations. We apologise unreservedly to Deputy Mulherin for this error.
THE REGISTER OF Members’ Interests for 2014 has been published, allowing us a glimpse into the financial affairs of our public representatives.
All Oireachtas members are required to declare any occupation or income (other than being a politician), any company or charity directorships, and any shares, houses, apartments, or land worth more than €13,000 that they had during the previous year.
TheJournal.ie has been crunching the numbers and rifling through the ledgers of all 166 Dáil deputies, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the rest of the cabinet.
Here’s everything you could possibly want to know about what your TDs own and where they put their money, including an interactive map for every constituency in the country.
Seven TDs – six Fine Gael and one Labour – own property in some of the most desirable holiday locations in the world, according to this year’s register.
Along with 21 hectares of land and a house in Derraghan, Co Longford, Fine Gael deputy James Bannon declares an apartment in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, on Gran Canaria.
Waterford TD John Deasy rents out a spot on the Italian island of Sardinia, while Labour’s Meath East deputy Dominic Hannigan leases his place on Borga San Frediano in the Tuscan city of Florence.
Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter famously owns and rents out an extensive property portfolio in Dublin, London and in the Florida destinations of Naples and Marco Island, on the Gulf of Mexico.
As well as owning property in Athenry, Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon has a holiday home in the picturesque French commune of Banyuls-dels-Aspres, in the southern region of Languedoc-Roussilon.
Frank Feighan owns houses in Leitrim, Sligo, Roscommon, Dublin and according to his declaration, rents out an apartment at Madach Gardens (Goszdu Court) in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
Party colleague and Cork North-West TD Áine Collins lists properties in Cork and Kerry, as well as leasing her apartment in the popular Algarve resort of Albufeira, on the southern tip of Portugal.
Setting aside the stock market (more on that below), a number of TDs, including cabinet members, are investing their money and resources outside the country.
On top of a fairly extensive insurance and property portfolio in Dublin, Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett has shares in four separate companies, all based at the same address on Jersey in the Channel Islands.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton owns shares in Arytza, the Swiss food company which traces its origins to the Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society in Dublin.
Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe, meanwhile, has shares in Surrey-based consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble, and party colleague Noel Harrington is invested in a German medical products manufacturer.
Civil engineer Dominic Hannigan is Executive Director of his company Transport Strategies Ltd., which is based in the Wood Green area of north London.
As well as owning shares in it, Hannigan lists himself as a consultant to Transport Strategies, whose headquarters he also owns.
On the opposition benches, former Fianna Fáil Defence Minister Willie O’Dea has a significant portfolio of investments in oil and mining concerns, including Union Jack Oil (Bath), Kaizen Discovery (Vancouver), and Dragon Oil (London).
The Limerick City deputy is also a non-executive director at Union Jack, and the London-based property investment company Formation Group Ltd.
Left-wing TDs don’t own much property
There is a marked difference in property ownership and financial investments across the parties.
An analysis by TheJournal.ie has found that Labour and Sinn Féin deputies own significantly less land, and far fewer homes and company shares than the other main parties and Independents.
Strikingly, every left-wing TD (from the Anti-Austerity Alliance, People Before Profit Alliance, Socialist Party, and United Left Alliance) returned entirely blank forms.
Likewise Séamus Healy, the Workers and Unemployed Action Group TD for Tipperary South, declared only a residence and office in Clonmel, and is on the board of six local voluntary groups.
The chart below uses a formula to adjust for party size, and shows Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are evenly matched in terms of land ownership and company shares, although TDs from the governing party own a far higher proportion of houses and apartments.
As the chart shows, there’s a major drop-off in property and investments when it comes to Labour and Sinn Féin TDs – with the latter declaring not a single office, place of business or shareholding in 2014.
Furthermore, a far lower proportion of Labour and Sinn Féin deputies declared an interest of any kind: 19 out of 34 for Labour (56%) and 7 out of 14 for Sinn Féin, as compared to 84% among Fianna Fáil TDs.
It’s worth noting that TDs are not required to say exactly how much their property is worth, or how many shares they own in a given company, which would add to our understanding.
Nevertheless, you can check out the details of TheJournal.ie‘s analysis of differences between the major parties here.
Interactive: Find your local TDs’ property and investments
To view interactive maps of TDs’ property and investments, follow the links below for whichever constituency interests you:
Carlow-Kilkenny – Cavan-Monaghan – Clare – Cork East – Cork North-Central – Cork North-West – Cork South-Central – Cork South-West – Donegal North-East – Donegal South-West – Dublin Central – Dublin Mid-West – Dublin North – Dublin North-Central – Dublin North-East – Dublin North-West (none) – Dublin South – Dublin South-Central – Dublin South-East – Dublin South-West – Dublin West (none) – Dún Laoghaire – Galway East – Galway West – Kerry North-West Limerick – Kerry South – Kildare North – Kildare South – Laois-Offaly – Limerick City – Limerick – Longford-Westmeath – Louth – Mayo – Meath East – Meath West – Roscommon-South Leitrim – Sligo-North Leitrim – Tipperary North – Tipperary South – Waterford – Wexford – Wicklow
To download a spreadsheet and filter by constituency, political party, and cabinet position, click here.
To read a PDF of the register of members interests, as published on the Oireachtas website, click here.
That’s where the money is…
When it comes to investing their own money, our TDs opt for shares in financial institutions – banking, insurance, and so on – far more than any other industry.
There are 30 instances of investment in the financial sector, especially Bank of Ireland, AIB and FBD Insurance.
That’s double the number for the second-most popular, stocks and bonds.
Beyond that, the food and agriculture industry sees seven TDs holding shares – three in the Kerry Group alone – six in manufacturing companies, and five for oil and mining, although Willie O’Dea makes up the totality of these investments.
Rolling the dice
One of the most striking features of the register is the wide variety of circumstances among our elected representatives.
As we noted earlier this month, Roscommon South-Leitrim by-election winner Michael Fitzmaurice revealed that he’s been “cutting turf for Bórd na Móna for a good few years,” and that the land he owns is not fit for development because it’s “out the country.”
Contrast this, however, with some of his colleagues’ complex international financial affairs.
There are four TDs who have some kind of investment in stocks and bonds throughout the world.
Fine Gael TD for Waterford, Paudie Coffey owns Irish state prize bonds, and Willie O’Dea has government commercial bonds managed by Merrion Capital in Dublin and Dolmen Ltd. in Limerick city.
The two big stock market players in the chamber, however, are Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Independent TD Shane Ross.
Noonan does a good bit of business on Wall Street and the London Stock Exchange and, as noted by the Sunday Independent, has dropped some of his European shares in exchange for that perennial safe bet – gold.
Since last year, he has also invested in Portugese government bonds.
Perhaps not surprisingly for a former stockbroker, Dublin South TD Shane Ross has an extensive portfolio including US Treasury bills, German government bonds, and shares in a Scottish investment trust.
The Independent deputy is non-executive director of the Baring Hedge Select Fund in the Cayman Islands as well as the Baring Russia Fund in Luxembourg, and is non-executive chairman of the Henderson Value Trust in Edinburgh.
Dáil Eireann isn’t exactly a bling ring
Holding companies in the Channel Islands and holiday homes in the south of France are all very eye-catching, of course, but overall, our TDs do not report outrageous assets.
Some 42 deputies (just over a quarter) returned entirely blank forms, and a further 34 declared just one house, apartment or piece of land.
Roughly-speaking, this means around half of deputies have quite modest property ownership and investments, although the €87,000 salary afforded them (though not accepted by all), puts this in perspective.
All TDs from two constituencies – Dublin West and Dublin North-West – declared no interests whatsoever.