Friday, April 10, 2009

Libertas's John McGuirk says he won't reveal deatils of Libertas spending in ireland

Libertas unveils Euro poll billboard campaign


LIBERTAS HAS launched its billboard campaign for the European elections with a series of posters critical of Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s handling of the economy.

The four posters have been erected on 75 billboards across the State. Libertas spokesman John McGuirk said the party had not intended to run the billboard campaign for another two weeks, but decided to begin it last Sunday after receiving a “significant discount” from advertisers.

Mr McGuirk would not say how much the advertising or the election campaign was costing, or where the funding was sourced.

“We are funded by donations from ordinary members of the public. Who funded Fine Gael? Are you asking them that?”

When asked if he could name any particular organisations or companies who were providing funding, Mr McGuirk said funds were coming from sources “legally entitled to donate”.

Advertising industry sources estimate a national campaign of this size would cost somewhere in the region of €60,000 to €70,000 each fortnight.

Mr McGuirk describes three of the advertisements as “contrast billboards” depicting the differences between Libertas, and its chairman Declan Ganley, and Mr Cowen and the leaders of the main Opposition parties.

The fourth advertisement is for one of the party’s new candidates for the European elections, former Irish Farmers’ Association official Raymond O’Malley who is running in the Ireland East constituency.

Of the three other posters, one makes reference to the recent controversy over the “guerilla artist” who placed nude caricatures of Mr Cowen in the National Gallery of Ireland and Royal Hibernian Academy. Headed: “The naked truth about Brian” it shows a stern-faced photograph of Mr Cowen and says he spent three days “sulking” over the painting, while jobs were being lost at the rate of 1,000 per day.

A second poster juxtaposes a picture of Mr Cowen scratching his head with a smiling Mr Ganley. It contrasts job losses with Mr Ganley’s “record of job creation and success in business”.

The third poster shows Mr Cowen, flanked by Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore asking if this was what the “real opposition” looked like. The posters bear the slogan “Change the system. Vote Libertas.”

Libertas recently replied to questions from the Standards in Public Office Commission about aspects of the funding of its campaign last year against the Lisbon Treaty. The commission had complained that Libertas had failed to respond to requests for information about loans to the group, and other matters. Libertas said it had not been told there was a deadline for supplying the information.

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