FF ‘lottery’ amendment for party fundraising should be withdrawn from Electoral Reform Bill

11 June 2022
  • Why is this amendment being sneaked in at the last minute?
  • Why did FG and the Greens agree to this stroke?
  • Amendments brings us back to days of up to €1million super draws

Labour Finance spokesperson Ged Nash has called on the Housing Minister to pull his last minute amendment to the Electoral Reform bill that would allow political parties to run massive fundraising lotteries, describing it as “an old style Fianna Fáil stroke”.

Deputy Nash said:

“After discovering they could no longer legally run their €500,000 annual raffle the Fianna Fáil Minister for Housing has tabled a last minute amendment to the Electoral Reform Bill that would allow them to keep the money rolling in.

“The Minister’s proposal would allow political parties to get a license from the District Court for lotteries with cash prizes of up €360,000, but there’s been no debate or scrutiny of his plan.

“Neither was this enterprise signalled to the Dáil in advance or to the press given the claims made that Cabinet signed off on these decisions on the 24th May.

“This is a classic old-fashioned FF stroke, as at no point was this change to the law flagged or scrutinised at Committee Stage two weeks ago.

“Instead the Minister is trying to sneak this major change in at the last minute to a Bill that’s meant to be about reforming how we organise and run our elections.

“This is a bad day for transparency and those of us who have long argued for political reform. The Minister should withdraw this major change that is far outside the scope of the original bill.

“This amendment is purely to benefit parties like FF and FG, and it’s a back door route for big money into Irish politics.

“Over many years we’ve reduced the size of allowable donations and brought transparency to how politics is financed in Ireland and how lobbying is done and regulated.

“The reality is tickets for raffles like this are sold for cash and there is no paper trail beyond what names go on the tickets.

“The parties like FG and FG were previously raising anywhere between €500,000 and €1million in these ‘raffles’. The sheer scale of this shows the urgent need for detailed scrutiny of this proposal.

“The government parties have also refused to allow a 60 minute debate in the Dáil on Wednesday on the motion needed to allow this last minute amendment to proceed to the final stage. Instead they’re pushing it through without debate.

“The parties that will benefit most from this change are FF and FG but the public deserve an explanation about why this is being rushed through at the eleventh hour. I’m calling on the Minister to withdraw it and explain what he’s up to.

“After the law changed in 2019, it was revealed that Fianna Fáil were in breach of the law with their raffle as they applied for a lottery license as a charity. The Green Party and Fine Gael should explain why they approved this stroke.”


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