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International funding for Irish Referenda

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  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭mrhoppy


    Aegir wrote: »
    isn't there a rather large and very wealthy international organisation based in Rome, that is also trying to influence the abortion debate?
    frag420 wrote: »
    So the anti repeal side are getting absolutely no funding from outside the Irish border at all, none whatsoever?

    The IONA and similar get all there funding from within the Irish border yeah?

    The Iona Institute are not using their funds to influence any elections or referenda, therefore are not in violation of Irish law.


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,792 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    mrhoppy wrote: »
    The Iona Institute are not using their funds to influence any elections or referenda...

    Let's break that one down.

    Are you arguing that the Iona Institute don't have a position on marriage equality or abortion?

    Or are you arguing that they do have a position, but don't seek to influence people's decisions in referendums on these issues?

    Or are you arguing that they do seek to influence referendums, but that they don't spend any money in the process?


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,929 ✭✭✭✭Ash.J.Williams


    Aegir wrote: »
    isn't there a rather large and very wealthy international organisation based in Rome, that is also trying to influence the abortion debate?

    In fact I think the CEO is having a day out for everyone in Ireland just before the referendum.


  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭mrhoppy


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    Let's break that one down.

    Are you arguing that the Iona Institute don't have a position on gay marriage or abortion?

    Or are you arguing that they do have a position, but don't seek to influence people's decisions in referendums on these issues?

    Or are you arguing that they do seek to influence referendums, but that they don't spend any money in the process?

    I'm saying they do have a position but don't seek to influence any referenda using capital


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,792 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    mrhoppy wrote: »
    I'm saying they do have a position but don't seek to influence any referenda using capital

    OK, so that's one of the latter two. So I'll ask again:

    Are you saying that they don't seek to influence referendums?

    Or are you saying that they don't spend money to do so?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,050 ✭✭✭✭markodaly


    recedite wrote: »
    <snip - please dont discuss moderation on thread>

    O'Gorman took this €137K from George Soros, apparently for the anti-abortion campaign. Its not the first time Amnesty international has collaborated with Soros in support of a policy, both often intervene to keep the "irregular" migrant routes into Europe open.
    The fact is, the donation was for political lobbying, whereas O'Gorman tried to say it was for "human rights work".
    There may be a fine line between the two, but both O'Gorman and SIPO know where that line is, and SIPO have firmly said the money should be returned to Soros, but O'Gorman has refused to do so.

    Even if the donor had been Irish, it was still well over the €200 limit
    applying to any single one-off donation for political lobbying purposes.

    The impression I get is that the law is for the little people while those doing 'Human Rights' work should get a pass from domestic law.

    I will tell you one thing, if the shoe was on the other foot, that The Iona Institute received a 137k donation from an American think tank, this thread would be hundreds of pages long with people bemoaning the situation. The media would also be filled with opinion pieces from the likes of Fintan o'Toole pontificating about foreign influences in our elections. These people have not surprisingly remained quiet on this issue. The only people I have seen so far commenting on the situation has been Elaine Byrne and Sean o'Rourke.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,768 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    markodaly wrote: »
    The impression I get is that the law is for the little people while those doing 'Human Rights' work should get a pass from domestic law.

    I will tell you one thing, if the shoe was on the other foot, that The Iona Institute received a 137k donation from an American think tank, this thread would be hundreds of pages long with people bemoaning the situation. The media would also be filled with opinion pieces from the likes of Fintan o'Toole pontificating about foreign influences in our elections. These people have not surprisingly remained quiet on this issue. The only people I have seen so far commenting on the situation has been Elaine Byrne and Sean o'Rourke.

    So what's the problem with George Soros donating to the liberal side then? It has to be consistent, you either allow foreign money or not. Selective outrage is just hypocrisy to be honest.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,050 ✭✭✭✭markodaly


    So what's the problem with George Soros donating to the liberal side then? It has to be consistent, you either allow foreign money or not. Selective outrage is just hypocrisy to be honest.

    Precisely my point. It has to be consistent and the opinion makers are not.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,195 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    Let's break that one down.

    Are you arguing that the Iona Institute don't have a position on marriage equality or abortion?

    Or are you arguing that they do have a position, but don't seek to influence people's decisions in referendums on these issues?

    Or are you arguing that they do seek to influence referendums, but that they don't spend any money in the process?
    As regards marriage equality, there isn't currently an actual or proposed refernedum on the subject, or indeed SFAIK any organised campaign for legal change. So, while Iona may say a great deal about it, what they say is not an attempt to influence a referndum or campaign.

    As regards abortion, we do expect a referendum on the repeal, or possibly amendment, of the Eighth Amendment. I think you probably could say that Iona (and of course may other organisations) are seeking to influence the outcome of a referendum, even if the referendum hasn't been called yet. It's probably enough that it's expected to be called.

    However as I understand it the SIPO regulations don't require disclosure of amounts spent on referendum-influencing campaigns; just of donations received for the purpose of referendum-influencing campaigns. If Iona receives general donations which they are free to apply to any purpose or objective of Iona, and it decides to spend them on a referendum-influencing campaign, those donations do not have to be disclosed. They only have to disclose donations which are given for the specific purpose of the referendum-influencing campaign - e.g. donations where the donor says that that's what he wants the money spent on, or donations received in response to an appeal for donations for that purpose.


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,792 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    As regards marriage equality, there isn't currently an actual or proposed refernedum on the subject, or indeed SFAIK any organised campaign for legal change. So, while Iona may say a great deal about it, what they say is not an attempt to influence a referndum or campaign.

    As regards abortion, we do expect a referendum on the repeal, or possibly amendment, of the Eighth Amendment. I think you probably could say that Iona (and of course may other organisations) are seeking to influence the outcome of a referendum, even if the referendum hasn't been called yet. It's probably enough that it's expected to be called.

    However as I understand it the SIPO regulations don't require disclosure of amounts spent on referendum-influencing campaigns; just of donations received for the purpose of referendum-influencing campaigns. If Iona receives general donations which they are free to apply to any purpose or objective of Iona, and it decides to spend them on a referendum-influencing campaign, those donations do not have to be disclosed. They only have to disclose donations which are given for the specific purpose of the referendum-influencing campaign - e.g. donations where the donor says that that's what he wants the money spent on, or donations received in response to an appeal for donations for that purpose.

    Sure, but I'm challenging the assertion that Iona "don't seek to influence any referenda using capital".


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    As regards marriage equality, there isn't currently an actual or proposed refernedum on the subject, or indeed SFAIK any organised campaign for legal change. So, while Iona may say a great deal about it, what they say is not an attempt to influence a referndum or campaign.
    Well, obviously they lost that one, but they received (and spent) a huge amount of money for the campaign to oppose same sex marriage. And not just during the year of the referendum. They put a lot of effort into holding the referendum at bay for as long as possible.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    As regards abortion, we do expect a referendum on the repeal, or possibly amendment, of the Eighth Amendment. I think you probably could say that Iona (and of course may other organisations) are seeking to influence the outcome of a referendum, even if the referendum hasn't been called yet. It's probably enough that it's expected to be called.
    There is no "probably" about it. Definitely.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    However as I understand it the SIPO regulations don't require disclosure of amounts spent on referendum-influencing campaigns; just of donations received for the purpose of referendum-influencing campaigns.
    Its not just during a referendum campaign. That's what Amnesty tried to argue, but SIPO set them right, resulting in O'Gorman's current hissy fit.

    Limits apply to large donations intended...
    SIPO wrote:
    4. to promote or oppose, directly or indirectly, the interests of a third party in connection with the conduct or management of any campaign conducted with a view to promoting or procuring a particular outcomein relation to a policy or policies or functions of the Government or any public authority;

    Fair is fair.
    Amnesty and Iona are both attracting large donations and both were/are campaigning to influence public policy.
    During the same sex marriage referendum campaign.
    During the abortion referendum campaign.
    Before the dates of those referendums were announced.
    After the referendums.
    And also on various other public policy issues.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,302 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    recedite wrote: »
    Well, obviously they lost that one, but they received (and spent) a huge amount of money for the campaign to oppose same sex marriage. And not just during the year of the referendum. They put a lot of effort into holding the referendum at bay for as long as possible.

    There is no "probably" about it. Definitely.


    Its not just during a referendum campaign. That's what Amnesty tried to argue, but SIPO set them right, resulting in O'Gorman's current hissy fit.

    Limits apply to large donations intended...

    Fair is fair.
    Amnesty and Iona are both attracting large donations and both were/are campaigning to influence public policy.
    During the same sex marriage referendum campaign.
    During the abortion referendum campaign.
    Before the dates of those referendums were announced.
    After the referendums.
    And also on various other public policy issues.


    That is an interesting quotation from the SIPO legislation.

    I think this may well be an important fight for Amnesty going beyond just the abortion thing. Foreign money may well be paying for a lot of Amnesty's public campaigns.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,195 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    Sure, but I'm challenging the assertion that Iona "don't seek to influence any referenda using capital".
    I agree with you.

    As regards same-sex marriage, Iona certainly did attempt to influence the outcome of that referendum, and spent money to do so. But (I think) the current disclosure laws were not in force at the time). Anything they might say about equal marriage now is not an attempt to influence the outcome of a referendum, because there is no referendum.

    As regards abortion/the eighth amendment, I agree with yourself and recedite that any campaign they are running on that subject is an attempt to influence the outcome of a referendum because, even though it hasn't formally been commenced, we all know a referendum is coming.

    However SFAIK the legislation doesn't require them to disclose all their spending on such a campaign, and it doesn't require them to disclose all their sources of funding. (Maybe it should, but it doesn't.) It only requires them to disclose donations which are specifically given for the purpose of a campaign to influence the outcome of the referendum. And we don't know that they have received any donations of that kind.

    (As far as I'm aware, we also don't know if they received any donations of that kind in relation to the marriage equality referendum. So, even if the current laws had been in place then, they might very well have had no disclosure obligations.)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    It only requires them to disclose donations which are specifically given for the purpose of a campaign to influence the outcome of the referendum.
    You keep trying to confine this to a referendum campaign.
    The SIPO quote a few posts back expands way beyond that to donations intended to be used in a campaign to influence any "policy or policies or functions of the Government or any public authority".

    Also it does not follow that on the day the votes in a referendum are counted, the issue in question ceases to be a potentially live issue in terms of public policy, or in any attempt to influence future public policy. If that were true, abortion would have ceased to be an issue after a previous referendum back in 1983.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,195 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Any issue at all could in theory be the subject of a referendum at some point in the future. I don’t think that’s enough to say that spending on that issue represents an attempt to influnce a referendum. I think that there needs to be an actual referendum, or at least a sufficiently close prospect of one that people are organising campaigns that they wouldn’t otherwise be organising.

    As for non-referendum-related campaigns, the legislation doesn’t catch all spending on any campaign, just spending aiming to influnce the outcome “in the interests of” a third party.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    As for non-referendum-related campaigns, the legislation doesn’t catch all spending on any campaign, just spending aiming to influnce the outcome “in the interests of” a third party.
    It does not catch any spending whatsoever.
    It catches all donations over the specified limits which are intended to be used to promote or oppose any "campaign conducted with a view to promoting or procuring a particular outcome in relation to a policy or policies or functions of the Government or any public authority".

    "Promote or oppose" is quite important here. For example we know that Iona promotes "marriage" but what does that mean exactly? It can better be explained from a public policy point of view by noting that they oppose same sex marriage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,050 ✭✭✭✭markodaly


    SIPO have threatened to send a file to the DPP if this money isn't given back. Ball in Amnesty Ireland's court now. I guess O'Gorman would love to be a martyr for a cause, most egomaniacs are, but he will hurt the organisation in the long term. Who are the board members, here? Could they not tell O'Gorman to cop on and comply with the laws of the land?


  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭mrhoppy


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    OK, so that's one of the latter two. So I'll ask again:

    Are you saying that they don't seek to influence referendums?

    Or are you saying that they don't spend money to do so?

    They don't seek to influence referenda. They hold a position on them, yes, but they don't campaign on either side's behalf


  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭mrhoppy


    So what's the problem with George Soros donating to the liberal side then? It has to be consistent, you either allow foreign money or not. Selective outrage is just hypocrisy to be honest.

    Neither side should be getting foreign capital. The issue is that Amnesty International and the pro choice side are getting foreign capital and are refusing to return the money despite the fact that whoever is involved is now subject to criminal charges


  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭mrhoppy


    markodaly wrote: »
    SIPO have threatened to send a file to the DPP if this money isn't given back. Ball in Amnesty Ireland's court now. I guess O'Gorman would love to be a martyr for a cause, most egomaniacs are, but he will hurt the organisation in the long term. Who are the board members, here? Could they not tell O'Gorman to cop on and comply with the laws of the land?

    O'Gorman won't comply with Ireland's laws because he's the head of the Irish branch of a multinational organisation. Like you said, he's an egomaniac. He let the power go to his head. Says he's doing the "right thing"... by.. breaking the law.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 78,313 ✭✭✭✭Victor


    Reminds me of a thread in the farming forum where removing EU+state support for Irish farmers and leaving them to sink or swim at the mercy of the market was described as "leftist thinking".
    This is correct. Farm supports exist to maintain a larger than otherwise rural population. Rural populations are more conservative than urban ones.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,313 ✭✭✭✭Victor


    What about say Peter McVerry? Most of his funding goes to homeless people what if they advocate for more spending on homeless sehelters or stronger anti eviction laws. Do they then preclude foreign donations.
    It's an interesting question, but I would separate elections and referendums from legislation and policy matters.
    Also, in an open economy whats to stop a non Irish person setting up an Irish organisation/company that then paying the money that way?
    Ban corporate donations. Allow political party membership fees and small donations. Potentially, allow single-purpose political parties.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,105 ✭✭✭seanin4711


    whats in it for George?


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,564 ✭✭✭✭steddyeddy


    Reminds me of a thread in the farming forum where removing EU+state support for Irish farmers and leaving them to sink or swim at the mercy of the market was described as "leftist thinking".

    The terms right and left are meaningless when used as an insult.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Victor wrote: »
    I would separate elections and referendums from legislation and policy matters.
    But the law which SIPO is following does not make that distinction. Quite rightly too IMO.

    Anyone remember Frank Dunlop & Associates? The main purpose of the enterprise was to influence public policy in regard to land rezoning decisions, by keeping a certain number of politicians in Frank's pocket.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,533 ✭✭✭AnGaelach


    markodaly wrote: »
    SIPO have threatened to send a file to the DPP if this money isn't given back. Ball in Amnesty Ireland's court now. I guess O'Gorman would love to be a martyr for a cause, most egomaniacs are, but he will hurt the organisation in the long term. Who are the board members, here? Could they not tell O'Gorman to cop on and comply with the laws of the land?

    It's an echo chamber. People like himself only socialise with those with the same views, they reinforce each other in their nonsense.

    With any luck, the DPP will pull the corporate veil and hold O'Gorman personally liable but I'll settle for them nailing Amnesty to the wall.


  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭mrhoppy


    seanin4711 wrote: »
    whats in it for George?

    I'm not actually too sure. Although I think he likes messing with countries' policies for the craic in it


  • Registered Users Posts: 177 ✭✭TheFatHombre


    So recently its come to my attention that amnesty international has accepted funds from open society, now Im sure your saying, well whats it got to do with the 8th amendmant?. Well open society is a group funded by hungarian george soros. Soros has led a campaign for abortion all over europe since the 80s. And now he funds the prochoice movement in ireland, now if his intentions wore noble I would not have an issue with this, but it appears he cares not for the women/babies rather that of his cultural marxist beliefs which are the overthrow of the family unit and in this case traditional irish values. So i ask why is this not been reported in the media?, why is our politicians not calling out this foreign money influencing our democratic system? Is it because both our government and media aspire to the same ideaologies of the radical left and soros? Its a topic for definite debate. So i would like to hear opinions of those who are familiar with this man and his work to offer more insight, thank you


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 7,611 ✭✭✭david75


    You could also ask where the vast amounts of money the pro life campaign seems to have comes from. Massive ad campaigns like theirs cost serious money. As does printing thousands of posters and flying loads of Americans over to take part in the march.
    Yet they claimed they got €200k ~ in 2017 from public donations. They have far more than that and haven’t detailed where any of it came from.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 177 ✭✭TheFatHombre


    david75 wrote: »
    You could also ask where the vast amounts of money the pro life campaign seems to have comes from. Massive ad campaigns like theirs cost serious money. As does printing thousands of posters and flying loads of Americans over to take part in the march.
    Yet they claimed they got €200k ~ in 2017 from public donations. They have far more than that and haven’t detailed where any of it came from.
    Well if it came from public donations you would not have a detailed account of exactly were? Alot of people in ireland will fund the prolife because at its core its morally acceptable to save a mother/babies life, if you have some hard facts as to were prolifes money is coming from IE. An outside billionaire like soros, then please be my guest, but i dont see the crime in irish people funding there arguments in an irish referendum do you?


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