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New Republic of Ireland election law over use of social media


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New election laws in the Irish Republic will “effectively prohibit” political parties from allowing their social media accounts to be managed outside the country

New election laws in the Irish Republic will “effectively prohibit” political parties from allowing their social media accounts to be managed outside the country

PA Archive/PA Images

New election laws in the Irish Republic will “effectively prohibit” political parties from allowing their social media accounts to be managed outside the country

New election laws in the Irish Republic will "effectively prohibit" political parties from allowing their social media accounts to be managed outside the country.

Legislation on political donations and electoral reform is being expanded to ensure there is greater transparency around how parties are funded.

It comes after it was revealed Sinn Féin's Facebook accounts were being managed by people based in Serbia and Germany. Facebook data shows Sinn Féin's main account has been managed by people in Ireland, the UK, Germany and Serbia.

Meanwhile, party leader Mary Lou McDonald and Stormont Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill's accounts have been operated by people based in the Republic, the UK and Germany.

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien will bring a memo to the Irish Cabinet in the coming weeks seeking to add to the proposed Electoral Reform Bill 2021 due before the Dáil this year.

He is seeking to ban parties from transferring funding or resources from branches based outside the Republic into the State for electoral purposes.

The new legislation will mean any transfer of "money or resources" will be treated as a political donation which will limit the amount parties can transfer between their organisation to €2,500.

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A briefing note on the proposal says this will "effectively prohibit" parties from having staff outside the Republic "manage social media accounts active in this State".

It is also aimed at banning politicians from receiving training or political advice paid for by units of their party based outside of the country.

It will also prohibit parties from commissioning and paying for political research outside of the State and transferring the findings to operations in the country.

And it will stop parties from deploying paid party officials based in other countries to campaign during elections in the Republic.

"The goal of the new sections is to create a level playing field and ensure full transparency in the crucial area of how political parties are financed in the Republic of Ireland," a Government source said.

Parties will also be required to provide full consolidated financial accounts of their operations in Ireland, Northern Ireland or anywhere else in the world where they have staff or bases.

The Electoral Reform Bill will also require parties to give a detailed breakdown of properties they own, both inside and outside the Republic.


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