Funding for Gemma O’Doherty’s Anti-Corruption Ireland partially revealed in emails to SIPO

A photo of Anti-Corruption Ireland founder Gemma O'Doherty outside the Four Courts in Dublin.

Anti-Corruption Ireland (ACI) has taken in roughly €400 in donations from public outings in the 12 months up to April of this year. In emails to Standards in Public Office (SIPO), ACI leader Gemma O’Doherty revealed the amounts in order to adhere to SIPO guidelines.

O’Doherty also told SIPO that she has funded ACI entirely out of her own pocket.

Third parties and PayPal

The Beacon acquired the emails via a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to SIPO. 

In the emails O’Doherty enquires about registering ACI with SIPO. According to SIPO, any organisation that accepts donations of more than €100 for political purposes must register as a third party. O’Doherty wrote to SIPO that she wants “to ensure that it complies fully with regulations, as overseen by SIPO”.

Under SIPO guidelines a third party must register with the Standards Commission and open a bank account for the receipt of political donations. It also has to send annual returns of any political donations it has received to the Standards Commission.

In an email from April this year O’Doherty year reveals the amount of donations ACI has been given by the public.

She wrote to SIPO that her group received donations “totalling around” €400. O’Doherty says that the donations are “in single amounts of no more than EU100”. ACI acquired the donations “in public places” in the 12 months leading up to April of this year. 

O’Doherty also makes reference to donations received via PayPal. Although the total amount is not mentioned, she told SIPO that she has tried to “ensure” that only Irish citizens made contributions of over €100. 

Under the Electoral Act of 1997, donations from outside of Ireland and amounts over €100 from anonymous sources are forbidden. 

During the exchange she informed SIPO that the list of donations received via PayPal is roughly 30 pages long. This was included in the documents received by The Beacon but its contents were redacted to adhere to the Electoral Act of 1997. Under this legislation SIPO cannot release the details of bank statements submitted to it “unless ordered by a Court to do so”.

O’Doherty also claimed to SIPO that ACI has been funded “entirely” out of her “own pocket”. And that “no public money has been used or spent” on or by the group.

An excerpt from the emails between O’Doherty and SIPO

Money troubles

O’Doherty has been hit by legal bills in recent months. Along with John Waters, a failed bid to overturn the government’s COVID legislation left them with costs of over €50,000. The two are currently appealing the ruling.

A judge has also awarded costs against her in a separate court case. In an ongoing defamation case brought against her by Jimmy Guerin, a judge ordered her to pay costs as a result of “the unsubstantiated complaints” she made about Guerin’s legal team.

Gardaí also briefly arrested O’Doherty in August while she was livestreaming. She had placed banners on a pedestrian walkway overlooking a motorway when gardaí appeared to removed the banners. When asked for her details O’Doherty refused to provide them. As a result, she was arrested under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

During a hearing last month in relation to the arrest, a garda told the court that further charges might be levelled against O’Doherty. Sergeant Tony Flynn said that gardaí were “awaiting direction” from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in relation to the incident.  

Featured image via YouTube – Screenshot


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