The main opposition party has long criticised Fianna Fail’s record of raising money from property tycoons, citing a “cosy relationship” between the government party and developers.
Mr O’Flynn is company chairman and managing director of Cork-based O’Flynn Construction, which recently transferred debts approaching €1bn to the National Asset Management Agency.
The party’s finance spokesman Michael Noonan last night said the exclusive fundraiser at the K Club last week was above board, but would not comment further.
“Our fundraising is in compliance with the rules,” he told the Irish Independent.
Mr O’Flynn ‘sponsored’ the 18th hole for the fundraiser for an undisclosed sum. If done through his company the figure will need to be published in the annual accounts. Fine Gael will only have to disclose a figure if the profit from the sponsorship is above the ridiculously high declaration limit of €5037. However, they’ll not be required to provide documentary proof that the gross income minus the expenses for the day resulted in individual or collective breaches or non-breaches of the declarations. Of course, this all means that there will, almost guaranteed, be no breaches of the declaration limit on the day. Thus the undisclosed sum will likely remain undisclosed.
Hell, political parties aren’t even required to publish accounts, despite SIPO and the Council of Europe Group Against Corruption saying it should be a basic standard for more than a decade. So we’ll no little about what sums passed between the party and those in attendance on the day.
In recent years the opposition has taken the moral high ground on ‘legal corruption’ and accountability issues, citing the Galway tent consistently as an example of how Fianna Fáil has been ethically compromised. Yet they rarely if ever attempt to hold themselves above the standard of the “board”.
The SIPO rules were written and implemented under Fianna Fáil. Fine Gael and Labour say they need to be reformed; what’s stopping Labour and Fine Gael from holding themselves to the standards now that they wish to implemented if they get into power? Why not take the initiative and publish accounts, expenses and all donations above a lower minimum limit, as an excercise in transparency?
Politics over democracy, innit?
The Greens have their own standards for accepting donations. Praise deserved. Pity they don’t see fit to publish donations below the minimum declaration limits. All parties accept that the lower limits are too high, as far as I know. So what’s the problem?…
On that topic, I’m still waiting to see the transparency-related reforms detailed in the programme for government. Any news on that lobbyists’ register, Minister Gormley?