Fine Gael Galway West Deputy, Sean Kyne, has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, that all elements of the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act are on track for commencement so that the provisions can be applied in future elections.
“I questioned Minister Hogan last week about the progress being made in respect of the legislation that is dealing with political donations and the introduction of gender quotas; the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act. I was delighted to learn that all the necessary statutory instruments and orders have or are being dealt with so that the legislation will take effect for all future local and general elections.
“Minister Hogan has informed me that a number of sections dealing with technical provisions and the requirements for registered political parties to provide an annual statement of accounts to the Standards in Public Office (SIPO) Commission, were signed on 27 September 2012 and took effect from that date. The furnishing of statements is to be based on guidelines prepared by the Commission and approved by the Minister. As it stands, the Commission submitted the draft guidelines to Minister Hogan last month and he is currently considering the Commission’s proposals.
“The Act also provides for political parties to be penalised if they fail to meet the gender quotas set down in law. This is a very important provision which will see a Party facing a 50% cut in State funding if it does not have at least 30% women and 30% men candidates at the next general election and which will act as a real force for encouraging parties to ensure more women are on the ticket. This figure is set to rise to 40% seven years after the general election where it first applies.
“The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act (Commencement) (No. 2) Order 2012, signed on 6 November 2012, commenced all remaining sections of the Act on different dates in 2013 and each of these sections is now in force. Ensuring that we deal with the issues that have tainted Irish politics for so long is an essential part of regaining the trust of the people. This Act restricts the amount of political donations that a party or a candidate in a Dáil, Seanad, local, European or Presidential election can receive and greatly increases transparency in this area. These provisions will apply at all future elections and will lift the lid on Party and candidate funding, while ensuring that Ireland never takes the route of the United States, where big business has a powerful hand in running politics. I welcome the Minister’s statement that everything is in order with these regulations and I look forward to the transformative effective they will have on Irish politics in the years to come.”