Wicklow General Election candidates spent €220,000 on campaigns
RECENTLY RELEASED FIGURES SHOW WHAT THEY SHELLED OUT IN 2016.
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