THERE was criticism of the “Galway Tent” culture of political donations this week after it emerged local politicians had received thousands of euro in personal contributions from developers and corporate financiers.
The vast majority of donations were made to Limerick’s Fianna Fail TDs, but smaller donations have been made to Fine Gael deputies.
Deputy Dan Neville and Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan spoke out after figures recently published by the website thestory.ie, following Freedom of Information requests, revealed the county’s Fianna Fail representatives received almost €70,000 in personal donations over the last decade.
Over the last 12 years, former Defence Minister Willie O’Dea received €30,909 from sources including Barringtons medical centre, haulier Brian Cosgrave, consultancy firm OHB and Ballycummin businessman Tim Walsh.
It was Mr Walsh who gave Mr O’Dea almost half his declared donations – some €14,349 between 1999 and 2005.
Mr O’Dea’s donations are almost double that of his Fianna Fail colleague Niall Collins, who received €16,416, mainly from individuals and party funding.
Former junior minister Peter Power, who lost his seat in February’s general election, received €10,200 from Kirby Group engineering, Tony O’Mara and Aviary Estates among others.
Another former deputy, John Cregan – who did not stand in February – also received donations totalling €7,959 – from Dromcollogher bakery Brudairs, as well as Newcastle West firm Lyons Excavation, among others.
Current Finance Minister Michael Noonan received €5,000 in donations.
He received another €1,000 from his party. Deputy Kieran O’Donnell has received only one declared donation - €1,055 for the use of a vehicle from the Limerick Motor Centre in the Ballysimon Road.
Since being elected in 1998, the figures show, Labour deputy O’Sullivan received two donations - €4,810 combined from the Amicus trade union. One politician who has not received any declarable donations is Deputy Neville.
*A full version of this story was published in the print edition of Limerick Leader, dated October 22, 2011