CANDIDATES from Clare who contested the General Election last February spent over € 100,000 in their efforts to get elected to the 31st Dáil Éireann, ﬁgures secured by The Clare People revealed in November.
Details of all the expenditure made by candidates in the Clare constituency are contained in the ‘Candidates Election Expenses Statements’ that have been released by the Standards in Public Ofﬁce Commission.
These ﬁgures reveal that € 113,892.11 was spent by Clare election candidates – this total is drawn from the returns made to the Standards in Public Ofﬁce Commission by 15 of the 16 election candidates who contest the Februay 25 poll, the largest number ever to contest a Dáil election in the county.
Six candidates spent over € 10,000 on their campaigns, while two of the candidates, independents Sarah Ferrigan and Anne Cronin, who contested the election on a ‘Balance the Ballot’ manifesto spent nothing on their respective campaigns. A limit of € 37,650 is put on spending per candidate in a four-seater constituency.
The biggest election spender was Fianna Fáil candidate, Dr John Hillery, who was attempting to win a Dáil seat that his father, the late former President of Ireland, Dr Paddy Hillery held for 22 years from 1951 to 1973.
Dr Hillery, who was drafted onto the Fianna Fáil election team in place of the retiring Minister for Defence, Tony Killeen, spent € 16,673.16 during his unsuccessful campaign for a Dáil seat, while his party colleague and Deputy Timmy Dooley, who retained his seat only spent € 9,574.35 in his campaign. The highest expense incurred by Dr Hillery during the campaign was for € 4,840.
Fine Gael were the biggest election spenders in Clare – between them the three candidates, Deputies Pat Breen and Joe Carey, as well as Senator Tony Mulcahy spent nearly € 40,000 during the campaign.
Deputy Carey, who was the third candidate elected was the biggest spender with a total of € 14,535, followed closely by poll topper Deputy Breen who spent € 14,252. Meanwhile, Tony Mulcahy, who was added to the Fine Gael ticket by party headquarters spent € 10,661 on his unsuccessful bid, before embarking on another campaign immediately afterwards when he won election to Seanad Éireann.
Labour’s Michael McNamara, who was the third canidate elected was the fourth highest election spender with a ﬁgure of € 14,248.42, while the highest spender from the independent benches was James Breen who incurred € 11,686.99 in election expenses in his bid to win back the Dáil seat he held from 2002 to 2007.
Independent candidate Patrick Brassil was one of 23 candidates around the country referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for failing to furnish expenses statements to the Standards in Public Ofﬁce Commission.