Wick­low Gen­eral Elec­tion can­di­dates spent €220,000 on cam­paigns



WICK­LOW’S 16 Gen­eral Elec­tion can­di­dates spent al­most €220,000 on their elec­tion cam­paigns in the lead up to polling day.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­cently re­leased by the Stan­dards in Pub­lic Of­fice (SIPO) com­mis­sion, the ma­jor­ity of can­di­dates sub­mit­ted ex­penses state­ments for the elec­tion with the to­tal fig­ure com­ing to €218,720.33.

How­ever Con O’Ceadaigh, elec­tion agent, for Kil­coole’s Char­lie Keddy, failed to sub­mit a com­pleted elec­tion ex­penses state­ment and the mat­ter has been re­ferred to the gardai. The elec­tion ex­penses state­ment which was sub­mit­ted by Mr O’Ceadaigh was en­tirely blank with the ex­cep­tion of Mr O’Ceadaigh’s name, ad­dress, tele­phone num­ber and email de­tails and didn’t have Char­lie Keddy’s name on it.

The state­ment was signed and dated by Mr O’Ceadaigh and wit­nessed by peace com­mis­sioner Tom For­tune.

The law pro­vides for the re­im­burse­ment of elec­tion ex­penses to qual­i­fied can­di­dates at a Dáil gen­eral elec­tion. In or­der to qual­ify for a re­im­burse­ment, a can­di­date must ei­ther have been elected at the elec­tion, or if not elected, have ex­ceeded one quar­ter of the quota in the con­stituency at any stage of the count­ing of votes.

The Stan­dards in Pub­lic Of­fice Com­mis­sion web­site, sipo.ie, gives a break­down of ex­pen­di­ture for each can­di­date in their elec­tion cam­paign.

The big­gest spender in the county by some dis­tance was Fianna Fáil’s Pat Casey who took the fifth and fi­nal seat in the con­stituency. He spent a whop­ping €39,335.36 on his cam­paign, al­most one fifth of the to­tal sum spent by all 16 can­di­dates com­bined in Wex­ford.

With a to­tal of 6.246 first-pref­er­ence votes this works out at just over €6.25 per first-pref­er­ence vote. Of the €39,335.36 spent by Deputy Casey just €2,423.71 com­ing from the Fianna Fáil party de­spite hav­ing a party al­lowance of €7,000 with the rest of the €36,911.65 be­ing paid for out of his own pocket.

A large chunk of his cam­paign monies was spent on ad­ver­tis­ing – €20,150 – while the sec­ond largest spend, €9,496, was on elec­tion leaflets and other pro­mo­tional lit­er­a­ture. €5,463 was spent on posters; €340 on of­fice and sta­tion­ary ex­penses; €100 on fuel and €1,365 on ex­penses for cam­paign work­ers.

The next big­gest spender in the county was Fine Gael’s Si­mon Har­ris, now Min­is­ter for Health, who spent a hefty €31,166.70 on his cam­paign. He took the third seat in the con­stituency with a 15.72 per cent of the first-pref­er­ence votes. With a first-pref­er­ence vote to­tal of 10,819 which works out at just over €2.88 per first-pref­er­ence vote he got much bet­ter bang for his buck.

Min­is­ter Har­ris had an al­lowance of €10,200 from the Fine Gael party but drew down just €310 of this, fund­ing the other €30,856.70 him­self.

He spent €14,018.08 on ad­ver­tis­ing; €12,275.23 on elec­tion posters; €2,387.57 on other elec­tion ma­te­rial in­clud­ing a spend of €230.15 on Face­book and a fur­ther €2.92 on so­cial me­dia ad­ver­tis­ing from MailChimp.

Min­is­ter Har­ris spent €1806.43 on of­fice and sta­tion­ary ex­penses and €371.39 on travel and trans­port costs.

The third big­gest spender in the county was Fianna Fáil’s Jen­nifer Cuffe, who failed to get elected de­spite spend­ing €25,841.69 on her cam­paign in the run-up to polling day. Ms Cuffe spent €25,841.69 on her cam­paign, a whop­ping €10,607.91 com­ing from the Fianna Fáil party, with Ms Cuffe fund­ing the re­main­ing €15,233.78 her­self. She had a party al­lowance of €18,080, more than two and half times the al­lowance of her run­ning mate Pat Casey, who did get elected.

The ma­jor­ity of her own per­sonal spend­ing was on posters and other elec­tion ma­te­rial which came to a to­tal of €11,560. Of this, €1,599 was spent on pro­mo­tional pens and ball. A fur­ther €1,956.94 was spent on ad­ver­tis­ing; €307.50 on pho­to­graphs; €909.31 on of­fice and sta­tion­ary; €400 on cam­paign work­ers’ ex­penses and €100 on trans­port and travel.

Poll-top­per Stephen Don­nelly was the fourth high­est spender with a cam­paign spend of €23,872.43, all of which he funded him­self de­spite hav­ing an al­lowance of €15,000 from the So­cial Democrats party. He has since left the newly formed party and is now an In­de­pen­dent TD.

While the li­ons share of his spend, €16,765.18 was spent on posters and other elec­tion ma­te­rial Deputy Don­nelly also spent €4,309 on his cam­paign work­ers. €506.76 was spent on ad­ver­tis­ing; €1,024.70 on of­fice and sta­tion­ary in­clud­ing €79 on a busi­ness break­fast; ac­com­mo­da­tion costs were €871 while petrol and taxi costs came to €396.31.

Labour’s Anne Fer­ris who lost her seat in the elec­tion spent €24,261 on her cam­paign, the ma­jor­ity of which she funded her­self. She had an al­lowance of €18,080 from the Labour Party but only used €393.60 paying the re­main­ing €23,867.40 from her own pocket.

She spent €5,635.86 on ad­ver­tis­ing; €5,793.70 on posters and €341.50 on of­fice and sta­tion­ary ma­te­ri­als. She spent a fur­ther €12,096.34 on other elec­tion ma­te­rial in­clud­ing €1,002.45 on ban­ners and €74.73 on Face­book.

Fine Gael’s An­drew Doyle was the sixth high­est spend com­ing in at €20,580.07. Like his party col­league Si­mon Har­ris he funded the bulk of his cam­paign him­self us­ing just €919 of party funds de­spite an al­lowance of €23,200.

More than half his spend was used for posters and other elec­tion para­phena­lia with the bill com­ing to €11,765.02. A fur­ther €4168.47 was spent on ad­ver­tis­ing and €2,984.30 on of­fice and sta­tion­ary while the re­main­ing monies were spent on diesel and a pro­mo­tional car wrap.

Sixth on the spend­ing list was vet­eran Billy Tim­mins who ran un­der the Renua ban­ner for the first time hav­ing lost the Fine Gael party whip. He spent €19,483.85 on his elec­tion cam­paign, all of which was self funded. De­spite stay­ing in the race un­til the fi­nal count he was elim­i­nated An­drew Doyle and Pat Casey were deemed elected with­out reach­ing the quota. Tim­mins had an party al­lo­ca­tion of €5,000 from Renua but like all the Renua can­di­dates didn’t avail of it.

The ma­jor­ity of his bud­get, €14,474.83 was spent on posters and elec­tion ma­te­rial while a fur­ther €450 was spent on of­fice and sta­tion­ary ex­penses. The re­main­ing €4559,02 was spent on ad­ver­tis­ing in­clud­ing €298.28 on Face­book and €20 in the Carnew news­let­ter.

Sinn Féin’s John Brady who took the sec­ond seat in the con­stituency and who was elected on the sec­ond county spent a to­tal of €16,611.87 on his cam­paign. This was en­tirely self

funded with him opt­ing not to avail of any of the €16,611.87 al­lo­cated to him by the Sinn Féin party.

The bulk of his cam­paign monies was spent on elec­tion posters and other elec­tion pro­mo­tional leaflets amount­ing to €9,588.63. He spent €3,792.89 on ad­ver­tis­ing and €3,068.13 on sta­tion­ary.

In­de­pen­dent can­di­date Joe Be­han spent €10,517.95 on his cam­paign and like all the In­de­pen­dent can­di­dates it was en­tirely self funded. He spent €2,927.10 on ad­ver­tis­ing; €220 on stu­dio pho­tog­ra­phy; €2,503.04 on posters; €4.748.61 on other elec­tion ma­te­rial in­clud­ing €46.74 on boost­ing so­cial me­dia posts and €10 for web­site host­ing. He also spent €119.20 on tele­phone bills.

New can­di­date Avril Cronin of Fine Gael was backed to the hilt by the party with an al­lowance of €40,200, the largest al­lowance of all three Fine Gael can­di­dates, but was the only one not elected. She spent a to­tal of €7,463 on her cam­paign, with the party paying for all but €20 of the cam­paign. She funded this €20 her­self.

The en­tirety of this €20 was spent on boost­ing Face­book posts.

Steven Matthews of the Green Party spent €2,689.98 on his cam­paign, all of which was self-funded. He spent €1,254.60 on ad­ver­tis­ing, €75.09 on posters and th e re­main­ing €1,360.29 on other elec­tion ma­te­rial.

The AAA-PBP can­di­dates, Anna Doyle and Sharon Briggs, spent more or less the same amount on their cam­paigns with Ms Doyle spend­ing €2,600.31 and Ms Briggs spend­ing €2,249.27. Each of them used party funds of €279.81 fund­ing the re­main­ing monies them­selves, €2,320.50 for Ms Doyle and €1,969.46 for Ms Briggs. The ma­jor­ity of their funds was spent on posters and elec­tion ma­te­rial.

In­de­pen­dent can­di­date Robert (Bob) Kearns of Wick­low spent €1,042.34 on his cam­paign, which was used for elec­tion ma­te­rial, while Di­rect Democ­racy Ire­land can­di­date Ka­t­rina Hutchin­son spent just €370 on her cam­paign. This was spent on pho­tos and brochures.

No ex­penses were recorded for In­de­pen­dent can­di­date Char­lie Keddy.

Of the un­suc­cess­ful 11 can­di­dates just two recorded do­na­tions in ex­cess of €600, with Jen­nifer Cuffe re­port­ing do­na­tions to­tally €4,000 and Billy Tim­mins re­port­ing a sin­gle do­na­tion of €750 from Peter Tim­mins of Weaver Square, Balt­in­glass.

Ms Cuffe’s do­na­tions came from four sin­gle do­na­tions of €1,000 each. They were from Alan Cuffe, Mal­colm Cuffe, Cyril Cuffe and Deirdre Cuffe, all of whom had the same ad­dress at Jour­ney’s End, Shrews­bury Lawn, Cabin­teely, Dublin 18.

All five of the out­go­ing TDs, Deputies Don­nelly, Doyle, Fer­ris, Har­ris and Tim­mins used some pub­lic funds for their cam­paign. Deputy Doyle used just 0.13 cent on tele­phone fa­cil­i­ties at Le­in­ster House while Anne Fer­ris at­trib­uted pub­lic spend­ing of €158.98 to her cam­paign for pa­per, en­velopes and ICT equip­ment.

Billy Tim­mins spent €510 of pub­lic funds on his cam­paign for en­velopes and print­ing while Min­is­ter Har­ris spent €750 from the pub­lic purse for print­ing and sta­tion­ary.

The largest spender of pub­lic funds was Deputy Don­nelly who spent €1,720.71 on his cam­paign which was spent on rent (€897), phones (€346.31), elec­tric­ity (€246.13), pa­per (€25.75) and ICT (€205.63).

BILLY TIM­MINS KA­T­RINA HUTCHIN­SON €19,483.85 BOB KEARNS €1,042.34 €370 ANNADOYLE €2,600.31 PAT CASEY SI­MON HAR­RIS €39,335.36 €31,166.70

ABOVE: All of the can­di­dates and what they spent in their at­tempts to get elected. STEPHEN DON­NELLY CHAR­LIE KEDDY JOHN BRADY NONE RECORDED €16,611.87 €23,872.43 STEVEN MATTHEWS AVRIL CRONIN SHARON BRIGGS €7,463 €2,249.27 €2,689.98 AN­DREW DOYLE JEN­NIFER CUFFE ANNEFERRIS JOE BE­HAN €10,517.95 €24,261 €20,580.07 €25,841.69

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