Independent Alliance spends over €15,000 on 'entertainment'

The majority of the spending last year was on events for TDs' staff

Independent Alliance spends over €15,000 on 'entertainment'

Picture by: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

The five TDs from the Independent Alliance spent over €15,000 of public money on 'entertainment' last year.

That is according to the latest report from the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) on political spending last year.

The majority of the spending was on events for TDs' staff, and on catering for constituency events.

None of the nine political parties in the Oireachtas reported any spending on entertainment - though they are funded under slightly different rules.

The report also says that Independent TDs spent over €63,000 last year getting specialist and technical advice to help them in parliamentary work: an area in which political parties spent no money at all.

In total, politicians and political parties spent €8.034m of public funds last year.

The total funding made available to party leaders was €7.215m.

Leaders' pay

The report also breaks down the spending of those parties, across several headings.

It reveals that Fianna Fáil pays an extra salary top-up to its leader Micheal Martin, worth €30,000 a year.

Similarly, the Independents4Change group pays a top-up of €3,000 to its designated leader Mick Wallace.

While party headquarters are not reported as having spent any cash on opinion polling - and would not be allowed to spend public funds for electoral purposes anyway - Independent TDs are reported as having spent over €40,000 on polls.

The highest spender was Finian McGrath, who spent over €12,600 on two Red C polls - including one constituency poll for his own area of Dublin Bay North.

No date is given for the commissioning of that poll.

Mr McGrath's filing also reveals he spent €1,200 of public funds on research and meetings involved in choosing his special advisor.

While SIPO does not have a role in the allocation of this funding, it has a supervisory role in relation to the spending of the funds.

Read the reports in full here