Sinn Féin calls for election campaign finance reform
Sinn Féins Dún Laoghaire candidate Eoin Ó Broin has today called for a radical reform of the laws governing party election campaigning. The call comes following revelations of massive pre election campaigning by Labour and Fine Gael in the Dún Laoghaire.
'Both Fine Gael and Labour are spending substantial amounts of money on pre-election publicity campaigns in Dún Laoghaire. While election regulations set strict limits on expenditure per candidate once an election is called, no such regulations exist for the period prior to the formal campaign.
'Speaking on the Vincent Brown show earlier in the week, a Fine Gael Dún Laoghaire candidate Eugene Regan admitted to spending €45,000 of his own money in the 2004 local government election. He and his running mates Sean Barrett and John Bailey are already spending handsomely on ad campaigns. Their Labour counterpart Oisín Quinn is doing likewise.
'Restrictions on election campaign expenditure are an important part of the democratic process. It prevents politicians from literally buying votes and ensures that smaller parties or independents have a fair chance at the ballot box.
'There is a clear and compelling case for a reform of the electoral law to ensure that this state does not develop a US style approach to electioneering, whereby the outcome in increasingly determined by a candidates ability to fundraise.' ENDS