Updated: 03/07/17 : 05:00:09
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Perry and research cited as TDs 'forget' party donations

EIGHTEEN OF Fine Gael's TDs failed to pay an annual levy to run their party in the run-up to the last general election.

These appear to include Assistant Chief Whip Tony McLoughlin of Sligo, Leitrim.

He is in good company, as it seems new Cabinet Ministers Michael Ring and Michael Creed forgot to make the donors' list either.

Main reason cited by TDs for their continued refusal to give a donation to their party is the cost of settling the High Court case with Sligo TD John Perry in 2015. See below.

Several new junior Ministers appointed recently by Leo Varadkar had failed to cough up the cash requested for party coffers.

The full details were revealed by The Sunday Business Post's Political Editor, Michael Brennan, yesterday.

Fine Gael gave the names of its TDs who made donations to Fine Gael to the Standards in Public Office Commission.

Under law, all political donations over 1,500 must be declared to the Commission.

Fine Gael TDs had been asked to pay a minimum of 125 a month from their salaries of 90,000 minimum (before expenses).

Party officials, said the newspaper, regularly contacted TDs and asked them to sign up to a direct debit.

Expressed Surprise

But Fine Gael's declaration last week showed just eighteen of its fifty TDs had paid the recommended amount of 1,500 or more. 

A number of TDs, including Tony McLoughlin, ''expressed surprise,'' said the newspaper ''as they believed they paid their monthly contributions to the party.''

The newspaper confirmed that ''McLoughlin did not have a declared donation to Fine Gael that year,'' 2015.

Common Complaints

One Fine Gael source told The Sunday Business Post there were two common complaints cited by TDs about how the party use their donation.

First among these was the (half million euro) cost of Fine Gael's December 2015 settlement with Sligo TD John Perry in the High Court.

That case arose after the Ballymote TD of nineteen years standing was a surprise deselection by delegates in the run-in to the 2016 general election.

Leo Varadkar raised this issue in the recent series of four hustings prior to being elected as party leader last month.

Secondly, TDs have expressed disquiet at Fine Gael spending on focus group research.

Last year, these groups research produced the disastrous ''Keep The Recovery Going'' slogan.

Fine Gael suffered heavy Dail seat losses in the 2016 election.

All four Euro MEPs paid the 1,500 sought by Fine Gael but only one of its Senators.