Labour's Keith Martin has welcomed the introduction of spending limits for the upcoming Local Elections which will range between €7,500 and €15,000 per candidate. This is the first time that limits have been applied to local elections and the period covered will be 60 days leading up to polling day, twice the period that applies in a general election.
The new rules have been introduced following the revelation that some candidates were spending up to €80,000 to win a council seat.
The spending limit for candidates for the 34 county and city councils will depend on the population of the electoral area in which they stand. Those in the most populated areas will be entitled to spend up to €15,000 with smaller limits of €13,000, €11,500, and €9,500 respectively applying to proportionately smaller electoral areas.
There will be a standard limit of €7,500 for all candidates contesting elections for the 80 borough and town councils.
According to Cllr Martin, who is Labour's candidate for Westport Town Council and Mayo County Council: “This is a much needed levelling of the playing field, until now established councillors with big incomes were able to spend a fortune, legally, defending their seats, and carpet baggers were allowed to virtually buy themselves a seat on the council. Now that is at an end and smaller parties can compete with bigger parties on a level playing field at long last.”