Under the terms set out in the Electoral Amendment Political Funding Bill 2011, the maximum amount that can be accepted as a political donation will be significantly reduced.
Furthermore political parties will be obliged to have at least 30 percent women candidates and at least 30 percent male candidates at the next general election. This will rise to 40 percent after 7 years.
A political party will only be permitted to accept €2,500 (down from €6,348.69) and an individual will only be allowed accept €1,000, where previously they could accept up to €2,539.48.
There will also be a reduction in the thresholds at which donations must be declared to The Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO). Political parties must declare anything above €1,500 and individuals must declare donations above €600.
While the Programme for Government proposed a “ban on corporate donations to political parties”, this legislation serves to “restrict corporate donations significantly”.
In this light, all bodies giving donations must be registered with SIPO. The donating body must include, in writing, a number of criteria including the name and address of the person or persons responsible for the organisation, management or financial affairs of the body,a statement of the nature and purpose of the body and a list of the membership or shareholders of the body.
These reforms were announced today by Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD today. He said how this is the most significant reform package introduced in decades and it “aims to increase transparency among all donations to ensure there is no question of unhealthy relationships”.
The Government, has to date imposed some significant political reforms as proposed in the Programme for Government within which the assertion was made that “we will overhaul the way politics and government work”.
Reforms to date include the reduction of the presidential spending limit, the introduction of a six month time limit to hold bye-elections, the removal of the automatic entitlement of Ministerial cars and drivers, cutting the pay of the Taoiseach, Ministers and Ministers of State, removal of severance pay for Ministers.