Belfast Telegraph

U2 guitarist The Edge a €1,000 donor for Higgins' re-election

Campaign: The Edge
Campaign: The Edge

By Cormac McQuinn

U2 guitarist The Edge and Michelin star chef Ross Lewis were among the donors to President Michael D Higgins' re-election campaign, it has been revealed.

Disclosures by the six candidates in last year's race for Aras an Uachtarain show that combined election expenses reached €1.36m.

Meanwhile, just three candidates - Mr Higgins, Independent Senator Joan Freeman, and businessman and former Dragons' Den star Sean Gallagher - declared any donations of more that €600.

The records have been published by the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo). They show that incumbent candidate Mr Higgins got more donations and spent more money on his campaign - €367,338 - than any of his rivals.

Controversial independent candidate and another former 'Dragon' Peter Casey - who came a surprise second in the race - spent the least out of any of the contenders, disclosing costs of €119,911.

Mr Higgins and Mr Casey were the only candidates who won a big enough share of the vote to have any expenses reimbursed.

The President had €200,000 reimbursed - the maximum sum available to qualifying candidates. Mr Casey had his full expenditure reimbursed.

Mr Higgins' campaign disclosed contributions totalling €41,300 from more than 40 individual donors. The Edge, who is listed under his real name of David Evans, donated €1,000, the maximum sum allowed. Mr Lewis - the chef proprietor of Dublin restaurant Chapter One - is also listed as donating €1,000.

Independent senator and Pieta House founder Joan Freeman had the second highest level of election expenses, disclosing spending of €253,194. Her campaign disclosed donations of €24,000.

There was €209,716 spent on Sinn Fein candidate Liadh Ni Riada's disastrous campaign, which included almost €80,000 on posters.

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