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Chapter 5 - Prohibited Donations

5.1     Anonymous donations in excess of €100

5.1.1    A political party may not accept an anonymous donation exceeding €100 in value. A donation is anonymous if the name and address of the donor is not known to the political party concerned. If such a donation is received, the political party must notify the Standards Commission in writing within 14 days of receipt of the donation and remit the donation, or its value, to the Standards Commission. The Standards Commission must lay a copy of each such notification received before both Houses of the Oireachtas.

5.2     Cash donations in excess of €200

5.2.1    A political party may not accept a cash donation exceeding €200 in value. If such a donation is received, the political party must, within 14 days of receipt of the donation, return the donation to the donor or if it is a monetary donation, the part of it exceeding the limit and keep a written record of the return for the purpose of it being furnished to the Standards Commission, if required; or; the political party must, within fourteen days of receipt, notify the Standards Commission of receipt of the donation and remit the donation or, if it is a monetary donation, the part of it exceeding the limit to the Standards Commission.

5.3     Donations by non-registered corporate donor in excess of €200

5.3.1    A political party may not accept a donation exceeding €200 in value from a corporate donor unless the corporate donor is registered in the Register of Corporate Donors maintained by the Commission and a statement is made on behalf of the corporate donor (and furnished with the donation to the donee) confirming that the making of the donation was approved by the corporate donor. The statement must be accompanied by a statutory declaration that to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person concerned, the statement is correct in every material respect and that the person has taken all reasonable action in order to satisfy him/herself as to the accuracy of the statement. 

5.3.2    If such a donation is received, the political party must, within 14 days of receipt of the donation, return the donation  or if it is a monetary donation, the part of it exceeding the limit to the donor and keep a written record of the return for the purpose of it being furnished to the Standards Commission, if required; or; the political party must, within fourteen days of receipt, notify the Standards Commission of receipt of the donation and remit the donation or, if it is a monetary donation, the part of it exceeding the limit to the Standards Commission.

5.4     Donations in excess of the maximum prescribed limit of €2,500

5.4.1    The maximum value of donation(s) which a political party may accept from the same donor in the same calendar year, either directly or through an intermediary, is €2,500. Where a donor makes more than one donation to a political party in a particular year, the values of the donations must be aggregated for the purpose of observing the maximum limit. Chapter 6 sets out the steps which the appropriate officer of a political party must take in order to comply with the requirement to aggregate donations.

5.4.2    It should be noted that the onus is on a person accepting a donation to check with the donor and/or with the party's appropriate officer that acceptance of the donation will not bring the total amount of donations received by the party from the donor above the maximum prescribed limit. If the donation being offered is likely to bring the aggregate value of donations received by the party from the same donor over the limit of €2,500, the donation, or that part of a monetary donation which would cause the limit to be exceeded, must be refused. 

5.4.3    If a political party receives a donation exceeding €2,500 in value, the donation must, within fourteen days of receipt, be returned by the political party to the donor or, if it is a monetary donation, the part of it exceeding the limit must be returned to the donor. A written record of the return must be kept for the purpose of it being furnished to the Standards Commission, if required; or the political party must, within fourteen days of receipt, notify the Standards Commission of receipt of the donation and remit the donation or the value thereof to the Standards Commission. In the case of a monetary donation, the part of it exceeding the limit must be remitted.

5.5     Foreign donations

5.5.1    A political party or any of its sub-units may not accept a donation, of any value, from an individual (other than an Irish citizen) who resides outside the island of Ireland. Similarly no donation, of any value, may be accepted from a body corporate or an unincorporated body of persons which does not keep an office in the island of Ireland from which at least one of its principal activities is directed.

5.5.2    The onus is on the person accepting the donation to make whatever enquiries are necessary and to obtain any corroborating evidence that may be required in order to be satisfied that he/she is not precluded from accepting a donation from the person concerned. The Standards Commission may require evidence that a political party is permitted to accept a donation from a particular donor.

5.5.3    Notwithstanding this, where such a prohibited foreign donation is received, the recipient should, within 14 days, return the donation to the donor and keep a written record of the return for the purpose of its being furnished to the Standards Commission, if required, or the recipient should, within 14 days, notify the Standards Commission and remit the donation, or the value thereof, to the Standards Commission.

5.6     Donations from donors who themselves are required to furnish a Donation Statement to the Standards Commission and who do not intend to do so

5.6.1    By 31 January in every year, under section 24(1A) of the Act, a donor is required to furnish a Donation Statement to the Standards Commission if, in the preceding year, the donor makes donations, exceeding in aggregate value €1,500, to

  • two or more persons who were members of the same political party at the time the donations were made, or,
  • one or more persons and to the political party of which such person or persons were members at the time the donations were made.

5.6.2    If a person, including any officer, member or agent of a political party or of any sub-unit or of any part of a political party, is offered a donation by a donor who is covered by this provision of the legislation and knows, or has reason to believe, that the donor does not intend to furnish a Donation Statement to the Standards Commission, the person is prohibited from accepting a donation from that donor. 

5.6.3    If, notwithstanding this prohibition, such a donation is received, the recipient must, within 14 days of receipt, notify the Standards Commission in writing of the receipt of the donation and the name and address of the donor, and remit the donation or its value to the Standards Commission. The Standards Commission must lay a copy of each such notification before both Houses of the Oireachtas.