Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ganley confirms he will run in election and spend 10s of millions despite controversy over funding

It is getting serious.

the Irish Independent

By Caroline Kerr Political Correspondent

Saturday March 14 2009

LIBERTAS chief Declan Ganley last night confirmed that he is running for election in Europe -- despite being lashed for failing to provide information on his campaign finances.

His party has failed to provide adequate information to the state ethics watchdog on where it got the money to fund its expensive campaign for a 'No' vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum.

Despite the escalation in the controversy over Mr Ganley's campaign finances, the controversial businessman told the Irish Independent he was definitely running in the European elections in the North-West constituency.

And the multi-millionaire told the Irish Independent that Libertas would spend "many tens of millions" on running hundreds of candidates across Europe in a bid to win in excess of 100 seats on June 5.

The money will be raised on the internet, Mr Ganley claims. Again, he has insisted it will be transparent and above board -- just as he promised during the referendum.

The Libertas leader repeatedly refused to reveal last year how he was funding his 'No' campaign, but insisted he was abiding by campaign finance rules.

However, Mr Ganley's organisation was last night accused of "not being willing to operate under the law" by Fianna Fail.

The accusation came after the Standards In Public Office Commission (SIPO) said it was still awaiting information from Mr Ganley on his €200,000 loan to Libertas, the books on the Lisbon Treaty he distributed during the campaign and details on the employees of Mr Ganley's company, Rivada, who had worked for Libertas in their spare time and on a voluntary basis.


"At the time of writing this report, and despite a number of written and telephone reminders to Libertas, it has failed to provide the required information to the Standards Commission," the report stated.

Mr Ganley last night insisted it was always his plan to provide the information by the end of March. He accused SIPO of prematurely "pushing" ahead with its report.

In confirming his decision to run in the elections on June 5, Mr Ganley said he had been encouraged by the "enormous goodwill" of people in the North-West.

He claimed the Libertas position was the "natural disposition" of the majority of people and that he could take one of the seats held by Fianna Fail's Sean O Neachtain, Fine Gael's Jim Higgins or independent MEP Marian Harkin.


Given the highly fraught referendum campaign that occurred last year, Mr Ganley said the public could probably expect more of the "hilarious lies" and "outrageous claims" from his opponents on the election trail in Europe.

However, last night, as the controversy over SIPO continued to engulf Libertas, Labour's Joe Costello said it was time for Mr Ganley to "come clean" with the electorate.

Minister for European Affairs Dick Roche said the failure to co-operate with SIPO was now a "serious matter".

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