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How does this old-school fundraising chime with Renua's new politics?

A Renua activist had the fundraising bucket out in Dingle this afternoon.

RENUA HAS MADE much of its inability to access the nearly €13 million that other political parties get in annual state funding and so it has to do lots of its own fundraising ahead of the general election.

Since its inception in March, the party has held several fundraising events across the country, including this constituency barbecue in a fancy Dublin city centre bar last month:

It’s also taking donations online and has more fundraisers planned in the months ahead.

But in the Kerry town of Dingle today, one activist was resorting to a very old-school method reminiscent of the church gate collections pioneered by the likes of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

dingle renua 2

Tralee-based Donal Corcoran, who hopes to run for Renua in the next election, stood outside Garvey’s SuperValu in Dingle with a Renua banner and a Renua-branded bucket for a few hours seeking donations.

“It’s probably an old-school way, yes, but needs must if you’re blocked out of fundraising through corporate structures etcetera,” he told today.

It’s important to say that everything is in order here.

Corcoran had a permit, issued by gardaí in Tralee, to collect money outside the busy supermarket from 9am until 9pm today.

Here’s a Dingle guard checking the permit this afternoon:

dingle renua

We also checked with SIPO (the Standards in Public Office Commission) and the Department of the Environment who both confirmed that there is nothing illegal or improper about such collections.

Contacted today, a Renua spokesperson said the party’s constituency organisations have discretion in how they fundraise, saying:

Street collections, be they outside the church gates or on the high streets, are legal so long as a permit is secured. We have no issue with street collections so long as it conforms to SIPO rules. All of our fundraisers have just recently been given training in these rules.

They added this was not the type of fundraising the party planned to do on a national basis.

As you probably know, Renua makes much of its drive for strong morals and ethics in politics and public life and is a big proponent of so-called ‘new politics’ and ‘governing in the sunshine’.

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So how does this old-school fundraising method chime with the party’s own donation rules and procedures. They state:

All donations must have a clearly declared donor including full names and addresses. Anonymous donations are not permitted.

Though small sums were likely being deposited in Corcoran’s bucket they are anonymous and so perhaps not strictly in line with the party’s own rules around donations.

renua donations

Corcoran disputed this, insisting:

I can’t comment when I don’t have the exact rules in front of me, but  I don’t think it contradicts anything. The party is well aware that it has to abide by the standards in public office rules. Once we do that other methods of raising funds are definitely in order.

The Renua spokesperson acknowledged “there could be a contradiction there” between the party’s own rules and fundraising with a bucket outside a supermarket.

But they insisted that Renua’s priority was to operate within the SIPO rules and said donations of around €100 would have to be declared fully.

Corcoran would not be drawn on how much money he raised today, but said it went “surprisingly good” for the few hours he was based outside the busy supermarket.

“I didn’t realise there was so much interest in the party in Dingle because Kerry is so spread out. It’s going to be very difficult for a party like ours to make inroads but I was very surprised and uplifted by the comments today,” he added.

Read: Lucinda Creighton hits back at criticism from journalist

Read: Renua Ireland doesn’t know how much money it has in its bank account

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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