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2021

STANDARDS COMMISSION PUBLISHES ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2020

15 July 2021 – Today the Standards in Public Office Commission published its annual report for 2020. The report provides a summary of the Commission’s activities during 2020 under legislation relating to ethics in public office, electoral financing and State funding. It includes information regarding operations and compliance with the ethics legislation, complaints and investigations, political donations, state financing of political parties and the registration of third parties and corporate donors.

Highlights of the 2020 report include:

  • The Commission processed 91 complaints under the Ethics Acts, initiated four preliminary inquiries, and published one investigation report. An additional three preliminary inquiries, which had commenced in 2019, were ongoing in 2020;
  • Six investigations were also launched into non-compliance with the tax clearance provisions of the Ethics Acts by senior office holders;
  • Four reports on annual disclosures of donations to political parties, the expenditure of Exchequer funding, and statements of political parties’ accounts were published over the course of the year;
  • Following the European Elections in 2019 and the Dáil bye-elections that year, the Commission in 2020 published its reports on expenditure at those elections;
  • The Commission oversaw compliance with the donation and expenditure provisions of the Act for the 2020 Dáil General Election;
  • The Commission published new guidance for election agents and candidates for the Dáil general election, and
  • It undertook numerous outreach activities to raise awareness and improve understanding and compliance with the Acts.

As in previous years, the Standards Commission has included in its annual report a number of recommendations for legislative change to the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended) and to the Ethics in Public Office Acts, that remain outstanding at the time of publication.

The Programme for Government, published in October 2020, announced an ethics review to reform and consolidate the ethics in public office legislation. The following month, the Hamilton Review Group recommended that the independence and capacity of the Commission be enhanced through adequate autonomy and resourcing. The Commission supports initiatives that will improve Ireland’s ethics framework, and will participate in any legislative and resource reviews.

For more information, and to read the Commission’s annual report visit the website www.sipo.ie.

For further information please contact:

Press Officer

Standards in Public Office Commission

6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 W773 Phone: +353 (0) 1 639 5666

Email:              info@sipo.ie

Website:         www.sipo.ie

Twitter:           @SIPOCIreland

 

Background

The Standards Commission was created in 2001, and is the independent body charged with oversight of the Ethics in Public Office Acts (1995 and 2001), the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

The members of the Standards Commission in 2020 were:

  • Mr Justice Daniel O’Keeffe, Chairperson (until 10 February 2020);
  • Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, Chairperson (from 9 December 2020);
  • Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General;
  • Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman;
  • Peter Finnegan, Clerk of Dáil Éireann;
  • Martin Groves, Clerk of Seanad Éireann;
  • Jim O’Keeffe, former member of Dáil Éireann (until 10 February 2020), and
  • Geraldine Feeney, former member of Seanad Éireann (from 9 December 2020).

The Commission publishes two annual reports each year; one on its activities administering ethics, electoral and State financing legislation, and the other on its activities administering the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. The separate annual report on the Regulation of Lobbying in 2020 was published on 28 June and may be viewed on www.lobbying.ie.

31 March 2021: The Standards Commission today published a report on donations made to TDs, Senators and MEPs in 2019.

For the 2019 reporting period, 17 public representatives disclosed donations with a total value of €22,545. As some donations fell to be returned to the donors where they were unacceptable under the Act, the net total for donations received was €13,645.

Under the Act, public representatives may not accept donations in any year of more than €200 in cash, and not more than €1,000 in total value from a single source.  They must disclose any donations valued at (or totalling) €600 or more received from an individual source. Public representatives may only accept donations from corporate donors that are registered with the Commission. 

In 2019, a total of 237 public representatives — 158 TDs, 60 Senators, 13 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) and six former MEPs – were required to make donation statements by 31 January 2020.  A number of individuals filed returns after the deadline. As all are now in compliance, no enforcement action was deemed necessary by the Commission.

The Commission's report and individual donation statements may be viewed online at www.sipo.ie

Background

Under the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), public representatives who are members of the Houses of the Oireachtas or the European Parliament must disclose to the Standards in Public Office Commission (the Commission) details of donations they receive above a certain value.

The Commission is an independent body responsible for overseeing the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 and the Standards in Public Office Act 2001 (together known as the Ethics Acts), the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Activities) (Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

The Commission was created by the Standards in Public Office Act 2001 and comprises six members, including:

  • Chairperson Garrett Sheehan, a former judge of the Court of Appeal;

  • Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General;

  • Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman;

  • Peter Finnegan, Clerk of Dáil Éireann;

  • Martin Groves, Clerk of Seanad Éireann; and

  • Geraldine Feeney, former member of Seanad Éireann.

The Commission is supported by a Secretariat.

Contact: Press Officer
Standards in Public Office Commission
6 Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6395666

E-mail: info@sipo.ie

2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Standards in Public Office Commission reports on the Dáil Bye Elections 2019

3 December 2020: The Standards in Public Office Commission (the Standards Commission) has today published its report on the Dáil Bye Elections 2019. Polling day for the 2019 Dáil bye-election took place on 29 November 2019. Bye-elections were held in four constituencies: Cork North-Central, Dublin Fingal, Dublin Mid-West and Wexford. The report provides information on election spending by election agents and the disclosure of donations by unsuccessful candidates during the election period (7 November to 29 November 2019).

The total of election expenses disclosed, including spending by the candidate, his/her election agent, and political parties, was €432,010. Expenditure on property, goods or services used outside of the election period was not required to be disclosed.

Donations declared by the unsuccessful candidates at the Dáil bye-election amounted to €2,000.

In the 2019 Dáil bye-election, a total of 28 of the 46 candidates who stood for election qualified for reimbursement of election expenses.

The Standards Commission report on the Dáil Bye Elections 2019 is available at www.sipo.ie.

Background

The Standards in Public Office Commission is an independent body responsible for overseeing the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995, the Standards in Public Office Act 2001, the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Activities) (Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

The Standards Commission was created by the Standards in Public Office Act 2001.

Contact: Press Officer

Standards in Public Office Commission
6 Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2
D02 W773

Telephone: 01 6395666
E-mail: info@sipo.ie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Standards in Public Office Commission reports on State funding of political parties in 2019 

2 December 2020: The Standards in Public Office Commission has today published two reports on the state financing of political parties and independent TDs and Senators during 2019.

Exchequer Funding of Political Parties in 2019

Political parties may qualify for funding from the Exchequer under the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended) based on their percentage of the vote in the last Dáil election.

In 2019, eight political parties qualified for Exchequer funding under the Electoral Act: Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Green Party, the Labour Party, Renua, Sinn Féin, Social Democrats and Solidarity – People Before Profit. The eight parties received funding totalling €5.964 million under the electoral legislation in 2019. Any unused funding from the previous year may be carried over for use the following year, and accounted for in the year in which it is spent.  The funding may not be used for electoral or referendum purposes.

Total expenditure reported for the year was €6.102 million.

In its report, the Commission has raised concerns that there is no consequence for non-compliance of qualified parties who fail to comply with the reporting requirements and who do not qualify for funding in the following year.

Details of the funding, including how it was spent and accompanying statements, are contained in the report entitled Exchequer Funding of Political Parties in 2019, published today by the Standards Commission. The report is available at www.sipo.ie

Parliamentary Activities Allowance 2019

Party leaders and independent members of the Oireachtas may receive funding under the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act 2014, informally known as the “Parliamentary Activities Allowance”. 

A political party can qualify for payment under Parliamentary Activities Allowance legislation if they have registered in the Register of Political Parties and have had at least one member elected to Dáil Éireann or elected or nominated to Seanad Éireann at the last general election. Independent members of the Oireachtas are also eligible. 

In 2019, there were eight parties that qualified for the allowance, namely: Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Green Party, Independents 4 Change, the Labour Party, Sinn Féin, Social Democrats and Solidarity – People Before Profit. The total funding payable in 2019 to the parliamentary party leaders of these parties amounted to €7.510 million.  

The funding payable to non-party members of the Dáil during 2019 amounted to €682,098.  

The funding payable to non-party members of the Seanad during 2019 amounted to €315,675. 

Total reported spending during the year, by both parties and independent members who submitted returns, amounted to €9.538 million. 

Details of the funding, how it was spent and accompanying statements are contained in the report, entitled Exchequer Funding under the Parliamentary Activities Allowance Legislation in 2019. This report is available at: www.sipo.ie

Contact: Press Officer

Standards in Public Office Commission
6 Earlsfort Terrace

Dublin 2, D02 W773

Telephone: 01 6395666
E-mail: info@sipo.ie

***

Background

The Standards in Public Office Commission is an independent, non-partisan body responsible for overseeing the Ethics in Public Office Acts, the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. 

The Standards Commission was established by the Standards in Public Office Act 2001. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Standards Commission releases report on political parties' accounts for 2019

26 November 2020: The Standards in Public Office Commission (the Standards Commission) has today published its annual report on statements of accounts provided to it by political parties registered in Ireland. 

The Electoral Act 1997, as amended by the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012, requires all registered political parties to submit audited statements of accounts to the Standards Commission by 30 June following the end of the calendar year to which the accounts relate.  

The report contains an overview of the Act's obligations, and provides information on the compliance status of all parties subject to the Act. 

There were 22 registered political parties required to provide statements of accounts for 2019. Nine parties were found to be fully compliant with their legal obligations to provide an annual statement of accounts. Eight parties provided a statement of accounts or correspondence that did not comply with the Act, while five political parties failed to provide a statement of accounts. 

As has been stated previously, the Commission is of the view that the requirement on all registered political parties to furnish statements of accounts and to have them audited by a statutory auditor, regardless of the size of the party or the extent of its income and expenditure, is excessive. Therefore, the Commission again recommends that the legislation be reviewed with a view to exempting smaller parties from the requirement to furnish audited statements of accounts to the Commission. For example, this might include parties that receive no public funding, or those that receive only a small level of private donations. The Commission considers that the requirement for all registered political parties to furnish statements of accounts should remain, but that it is unnecessary in such circumstances for the statements to be audited.

In accordance with the requirements of the Act, a copy of this report will be furnished to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann and to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Standards Commission report on Political Parties' Statements of Accounts 2019 is available at www.sipo.ie

Contact: Press Officer 

Standards in Public Office Commission
6 Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2, D02 W773 

Telephone: 01 6395666 
E-mail: info@sipo.ie
Website: www.sipo.ie
Twitter: @SIPOCIreland 

Background

The Standards in Public Office Commission is an independent, non-partisan body responsible for overseeing the Ethics in Public Office Acts, the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.  

The Standards Commission was established by the Standards in Public Office Act 2001.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Standards in Public Office Commission reports on donations disclosed by political parties for 2019

24 November 2020: Figures released today by the Standards in Public Office Commission show that political parties disclosed donations received in 2019 valued at €175,576.

There were 22 political parties registered during 2019 to contest Dáil or European elections. By 31 March each year, each registered party must furnish a donation statement to the Commission disclosing donations received for the previous year exceeding €1,500 in value. The maximum amount that may be accepted from the same donor in the same year is €2,500.

Political party accounting units are also required to submit to the Commission a certificate of monetary donations and a bank statement from their political donations accounts. The aggregate closing balance held by accounting units in relation to 2019 was € 950,111.

An accounting unit is a branch or other subsidiary organisation of a political party which receives a donation in excess of €100 in any year. An accounting unit, on receipt of a monetary donation in excess of €100, must open and maintain a political donations account in a financial institution in the State.

In accordance with the legislation, certificates of monetary donations and bank statements furnished to the Commission by political parties and their accounting units are not laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas or put on public display.

The Commission's report, entitled Donations to Political Parties 2019, gives details of the donations disclosed by political parties as well as information on accounting units. The report and the political party donations statements are available at: www.sipo.ie.

Contact: Press Officer

Standards in Public Office Commission, 6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2.

Telephone: 01 - 6395666

E-mail: info@sipo.ie  

Website: www.sipo.ie

Twitter: @SIPOCIreland

Background

The Standards Commission is an independent, non-partisan body charged with oversight of the Ethics in Public Office Acts (1995 and 2001), the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

The Standards Commission was established by the Standards in Public Office Act 2001.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Standards in Public Office Commission reports on European Election 2019 

5 October 2020: The Standards in Public Office Commission (the Standards Commission) has today published its report on the 2019 European Election. The report provides information on election spending by election agents and the disclosure of donations by unsuccessful candidates during the 2019 election period (25 March 2019 to 24 May 2019).  

The total of election expenses disclosed, including spending by the candidate, his/her election agent, and political parties, was €3.012 million. This marks an increase of 4.5% from the €2.88 million figure reported at the 2014 election. Expenditure on property, goods or services used outside of the election period was not required to be disclosed. 

Donations with a total value of €34,750 were disclosed by 15 candidates (equivalent figure in 2014 was €23,649). 

Twenty three candidates qualified for reimbursement of election expenses, and the total certified for payment was €851,422. 

The Standards Commission report on the 2019 European Election is available at www.sipo.ie.  

Background 

The Standards in Public Office Commission is an independent body responsible for overseeing the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995, the Standards in Public Office Act 2001, the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Activities) (Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. 

The Standards Commission was created by the Standards in Public Office Act 2001. 

Contact: Press Officer 

Standards in Public Office Commission 
6 Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2 
D02 W773 

Telephone: 01 6395666 
E-mail: info@sipo.ie 
 

4 August 2020: Statement by the Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation 

The Standards in Public Office Commission is the independent, non-partisan body with oversight responsibility for ensuring transparency, integrity and accountability in public life. The Commission oversees legislation governing ethics in public office, political finance, and the regulation of lobbying. As part of its statutory role, the Commission receives and processes a significant number of returns from office holders, TDs, Senators, MEPs, political parties, third parties and lobbyists, as well as election candidates and agents after an election. The Commission also investigates possible non-compliance and carries out enforcement activities as needed. 

As is the case with all public bodies and many in the private sector, the Standards in Public Office Commission and its staff are working remotely during the current public health crisis. As noted on the Commission's website and in its recently published annual reports, the COVID-19 situation has resulted in some unavoidable disruptions to the delivery of public services, including to the work of the Commission. In particular, the Commission’s office is closed to personal callers to ensure the health and well-being of staff and callers alike. Stakeholders have been asked to communicate with the office via email and telephone, which are unaffected. Post is collected regularly and staff have remote access to all systems, including email and databases. The Commission continues to follow public health advice.  

Throughout this period of disruption and uncertainty, the Commission has worked to ensure the continued and effective delivery of its mandate, in particular, timely support and guidance to stakeholders with statutory obligations. Secretariat staff members are currently working remotely and have maintained services to stakeholders throughout this period. The Commission is proud of the work of its professional and dedicated staff, who have adapted quickly and well to the change in circumstances, and are continuing to deliver effectively on the Commission's statutory mandate.

For more information about the Commission's work, please see the Commission's recently published annual reports:

Report for 2019: https://www.sipo.ie/reports-and-publications/annual-reports/2019-SIPOC-AR-English.pdf 

Report under the Regulation of Lobbying Act for 2019: www.lobbying.ie/regulation-of-lobbying-annual-report-2019-final-web.pdf.  

For immediate release

STANDARDS COMMISSION PUBLISHES ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2019

24 July 2020 – Today the Standards in Public Office Commission published its annual report for 2019. The report provides a summary of the Commission’s activities during 2019 under legislation relating to ethics in public office, electoral financing and State funding. It includes information regarding operations and compliance with the ethics legislation, complaints and investigations, political donations, state financing of political parties and the registration of third parties and corporate donors.

Highlights of the 2019 report include:

  • The Commission published *four investigation reports under the Ethics Acts, including two reports into non-compliance with the Act’s provisions regarding tax compliance;
  • The Commission oversaw compliance with the donation and expenditure provisions of the Act for the 2019 European elections and Dáil bye-elections;
  • Five reports on annual disclosures of donations to TDs, Senators, MEPs and political parties, the expenditure of Exchequer funding, and statements of political parties’ accounts were published over the course of the year; and
  • The Commission published new guidance for election agents and candidates, and for public bodies on ethics compliance, and undertook numerous outreach activities to raise awareness and improve understanding and compliance with the Acts.

The Commission continues to call for fundamental ethics and electoral reform, and as in previous years, recommends a number of specific changes to the legislation within its remit. These changes, if implemented, will serve to clarify and strengthen the provisions of the legislation administered by the Commission.

The Commission supports proposals to create an electoral commission to consolidate and streamline responsibility for oversight of elections in Ireland, currently divided among a number of statutory bodies. The Commission urges that this be done in concert with a comprehensive review of the Electoral Act 1997, to better reflect the modern realities of elections, including online fundraising, advertising and campaigning.

The Commission notes that the Public Sector Standards Bill 2015, which had been at Committee Stage in Dáil Éireann for two years, lapsed on the dissolution of Dáil Éireann on 14 January 2020. The Commission recommends that the incoming government give urgent consideration to passage of revised ethics legislation at an early stage, and would welcome an opportunity to engage in the development of a new comprehensive, robust and streamlined ethics framework, which is long overdue.

For more information, and to read the Commission’s annual report visit the website www.sipo.ie.

For further information please contact:

Press Officer Standards in Public Office Commission 6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 W773 Phone: +353 (0) 1 639 5666

Email: info@sipo.ie Website: www.sipo.ie

Twitter: @SIPOCIreland

Background

The Standards Commission was created in 2001, and is the independent body charged with oversight of the Ethics in Public Office Acts (1995 and 2001), the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices)(Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

The members of the Standards Commission in 2019 were:

  • Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe, Chairperson;
  • Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General;
  • Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman;
  • Peter Finnegan, Clerk of Dáil Éireann;
  • Martin Groves, Clerk of Seanad Éireann; and
  • Jim O'Keeffe, former TD.

The terms of Chairperson Mr Justice O’Keeffe and ordinary member Jim O’Keeffe ended in February 2020. The posts remain vacant pending new appointments. The Commission looks forward to welcoming a new Chairperson and ordinary member in due course.

The Commission publishes two annual reports each year; one on its activities administering ethics, electoral and State financing legislation, and the other on its activities administering the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. The separate annual report on the Regulation of Lobbying in 2019 was published on 23 June and may be viewed on www.lobbying.ie.

*Edited on 27/07/2020

Notice: Due to the current public health emergency, there are considerable and unavoidable disruptions to the delivery of public services, as well to the work of our own Office. Our staff are continuing to work during this time in all areas of the Commission's remit. However, some may be redeployed in the coming days to vital front line services.

We ask for your patience and cooperation in respect of any unavoidable delays that may result.

We would further ask that any non urgent queries or complaints be deferred at this time. Thank you for your understanding.

2019

Press Release - Report on Political Parties' Statements of Accounts 2018

The Standards in Public Office Commission (the Standards Commission) has today published its annual report on statements of accounts provided to it by political parties registered in Ireland.

The Electoral Act 1997, as amended by the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012, requires all registered political parties to submit audited statements of accounts to the Standards Commission by 30 June following the end of the calendar year to which the accounts relate.

The report contains an overview of the Act's obligations, and provides information on the compliance status of all parties subject to the Act. There were 19 registered political parties required to provide statements of accounts for 2018. Ten parties were found to be fully compliant with their legal obligations to provide an annual statement of accounts. Five parties provided a statement of accounts that did not comply with the Act, while four political parties failed to provide a statement of accounts.

The Standards Commission remains of the view that the requirement on all registered political parties to furnish statements of accounts and to have them audited by a public auditor, regardless of the size of the party or the extent of its income and expenditure, is excessive.  Therefore, the Commission again recommends that the legislation be reviewed with a view to exempting smaller parties from the requirement to furnish audited statements of accounts to the Commission.

In accordance with the requirements of the Act, a copy of this report will be furnished to the Chairman of Dáil Éireann and to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Standards Commission report on Political Parties' Statements of Accounts 2018 is available here.

Background

The Standards in Public Office Commission was established in 2001. It is an independent, non-partisan body responsible for overseeing the Ethics in Public Office Acts, the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

Standards in Public Office Commission
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2 D02 HE97

Telephone: 01 - 6395666
E-mail: info@sipo.ie
Website: www.sipo.ie
Twitter: @SIPOCIreland

Press Release - Political Parties Disclose Donations Received in 2018

Political Parties

Figures released today by the Standards in Public Office Commission in its annual report of political party donations show that political parties disclosed donations valued at €159,819 for 2018.

There were 19 political parties registered during 2018 to contest Dáil or European elections. Each of these parties was required to furnish a Donation Statement in respect of 2018 to the Commission by 31 March 2019, disclosing donations exceeding €1,500 in value received during 2018. The maximum value of donations which a political party may accept from the same donor in the same year is €2,500.

Accounting units

An accounting unit is a branch or other subsidiary organisation of a political party which receives a donation in excess of €100 in any year. An accounting unit, on receipt of a monetary donation in excess of €100, must open and maintain a political donations account in a financial institution in the State. By 31 March each year, accounting units must furnish to the Commission a statement from the financial institution in which the account is held, together with a Certificate of Monetary Donations.

In accordance with the legislation, details of Certificates of Monetary Donations and bank statements furnished to the Commission by political parties and their accounting units are not laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas or put on public display.

The aggregate closing balance held by accounting units in relation to 2018 was €1,150,073.

The Commission's report, entitled Donations to Political Parties 2018, gives details of the donations disclosed by political parties as well as information on accounting units. The report and the political party donations statements are available at: www.sipo.ie

Contact: Press Officer

Standards in Public Office Commission
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2

Telephone: 01 - 6395666
E-mail: info@sipo.ie
Website:www.sipo.ie
Twitter:@SIPOCIreland

Background

The Standards Commission was created in 2001, and is the independent body charged with oversight of the Ethics in Public Office Acts (1995 and 2001), the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices)(Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

The members of the Standards Commission are:

  • Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe, Chairperson;
  • Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General;
  • Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman;
  • Peter Finnegan, Clerk of Dáil Éireann;
  • Martin Groves, Clerk of Seanad Éireann; and
  • Jim O'Keeffe, former TD.

The Standards in Public Office Commission (the Standards Commission) has today published its report on the 2018 Presidential Election. The report provides information on election spending and the disclosure of donation by election agents.

The 2018 election period began on 28 August 2018 and ended on polling day on 26 October 2018. Expenditure on property, goods or services outside of this period was not required to be accounted for.

Election expenses of €1.36 million were disclosed by election agents, a decrease of 41% on the €2.32 million figure reported for the 2011 election.

Donations with a total value of €74,300 were disclosed by 3 candidates (equivalent figure in 2011 was €304,570).

Two candidates qualified for reimbursement of election expenses, and the total certified for payment was €319,911.30.

The Standards Commission report on the 2018 Presidential Election is available at www.sipo.ie

Background

The Standards in Public Office Commission is an independent body responsible for overseeing the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995, the Standards in Public Office Act 2001, the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Activities) (Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

The Standards Commission was created by the Standards in Public Office Act 2001.

Contact: Press Officer

Standards in Public Office Commission
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2
D02 HE97
Telephone: 01 6395666
E-mail: info@sipo.ie

 

The Standards in Public Office Commission (the Commission) today published its annual report for 2018. The report provides a summary of the Commission’s activities during 2018 under legislation relating to ethics in public office, electoral financing and State funding. It includes information regarding operations and compliance with the ethics legislation, complaints and investigations, political donations, state financing of political parties and the registration of third parties and corporate donors.

Under the Ethics Acts, the Commission processed 29 complaints in 2018, completed one preliminary inquiry, and held four investigation hearings, with three reports published during the year. These were in addition to 80 investigations and 6 reports into non-compliance with the Act’s provisions regarding tax compliance.

Under the Electoral Act, the Commission supervised election finance for the presidential election held in October 2018. A report on the presidential election will be published in 2019. The Commission also published annual statutory reports on the Seanad bye-election held in April, reports on donations to political parties, TDs, Senators and MEPs, political party accounts and accounting units.

In its report for 2018, the Commission once again has renewed its calls for electoral reform. While the Commission notes some welcome movement in this regard. It is hoped that such structural change would be accompanied by a full legislative review of the Electoral Act, which is now over 20 years old and requires modernisation.

As in previous years, the Standards Commission has included in its annual report a number of recommendations for legislative change to the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended) and to the Ethics in Public Office Acts. These changes, if implemented will serve to clarify and strengthen the provisions of the legislation administered by the Commission.

For more information, and to read the Commission’s annual report visit the website www.sipo.ie.

For further information please contact:

Press Officer
Standards in Public Office Commission
18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
(01) 6395666

Email:             info@sipo.ie

Website:         www.sipo.ie

Twitter:           @SIPOCIreland

Background

The Standards Commission was created in 2001, and is the independent body charged with oversight of the Ethics in Public Office Acts (1995 and 2001), the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended), the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices)(Amendment) Act 2014, and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

The members of the Standards Commission are:

  • Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe, Chairperson;
  • Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General;
  • Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman;
  • Peter Finnegan, Clerk of Dáil Éireann;
  • Martin Groves, Clerk of Seanad Éireann; and
  • Jim O'Keeffe, former TD.

The Commission publishes two annual reports each year; one on its activities administering ethics, electoral and State financing legislation, and the other on its activities administering the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. The separate annual report on the Regulation of Lobbying in 2018 was published on 27 June and may be viewed on www.lobbying.ie.