Responding to the publication of the Government’s proposals on Corporate Donations, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD commented, “Today’s bill is welcome, but it abandons the commitment to a complete ban contained in the Programme for Government and is significantly weaker than the proposals in the Fianna Fáil bill voted down by Fine Gael and Labour last month.
“The Programme for Government clearly states ‘we will introduce the necessary legal and constitutional provisions to ban corporate donations to political parties.’ This has been abandoned. The Bill allows Corporate Donations to continue and the Taoiseach has confirmed that there will be no constitutional ban put to the people.
“Instead of issuing self-congratulatory press releases the Government should explain why it is rowing back on its programme commitment. It is also significantly weaker than the measure introduced by Fianna Fáil last month.
“So far the Government has only issued a summary but not the full Bill, however some concerns are clear:
- No complete ban on Corporate Donations will now be proposed either through legislation or constitutional referendum.
- While donors over €200 must register, there is no requirement for immediate public disclosure of all donations.
- There will be no audit by SIPO of political parties’ compliance with electoral acts.
- When the new companies’ legislation published by Minister Richard Bruton yesterday becomes law, 90% of companies will be able to make donations based on the decision of one person, removing the intended impact of most of the restrictions proposed in the bill.
Deputy Martin concluded: “While this proposal will move the situation on, it does not go far enough and represents an opportunity wasted.”