I move amendment No. 90b :
In page 19, after line 28, to insert the following new section:
"34.—(1)(a) The Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act 1999, other than sections 1(4), 2 and 25, is repealed.
(b) References in—
(i) the Local Government Act 2001, and
(ii) the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2001,
to enactments repealed by subsection (1) shall be construed as references to the provisions, if any, of regulations made under section 72 of the Electoral Act.
(2) The Electoral Act 1997 is amended by the substitution of the following section for section 72:
72.—(1) The Minister shall, not later than seven days after the passing of this Act, make regulations providing for the disclosure by members of a local authority and candidates at a local election of donations made to the members or candidates, as the case may be, and the limitation of the election expenses which may be incurred by or on behalf of candidates and political parties at local elections and shall make provisions corresponding to the provisions of Parts IV and V, subject however to any modifications in those provisions appearing to the Minister to be appropriate.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), regulations under this section shall make provision for the following matters:
(a) furnishing of statements in relation to donations, including anonymous donations,
(b) appointment of agents by political parties and candidates,
(c) making of contracts, incurring of election expenses and making of payments,
(d) limitation of election expenses,
(e) period for making claims relating to election expenses and for payment of such claims,
(f) disputed claims relating to election expenses,
(g) furnishing of statements in relation to election expenses,
(h) consideration by the Standards in Public Office Commission of statements in relation to donations and election expenses,
(i) excess expenditure,
(j) election expenses at a fresh election,
(k) inspection of documents, and with such modifications as appear to the Minister to be appropriate.
(3) Regulations under this section shall apply to local authorities generally but may contain different provisions in relation to different classes of local authorities.
(4)(a) Provisions in regulations under this section relating to the specification of limits on election expenses shall correspond so far as is appropriate to the provisions relating to limits on election expenses for the time being applying to Dáil elections and, in making such regulations, the Minister shall have regard to any change in the consumer price index since the coming into force of the limits applying to Dáil elections at the date of the making of such regulations.
(b) For the purposes of this subsection, “change in the consumer price index” means the difference between the consumer price index number last published before the date of the making of the regulations under this section and the said number last published before the date of the coming into force of the limits on election expenses at Dáil elections applying at the date of the making of the said regulations, expressed as a percentage of the last-mentioned number.
(5) Where a provision of regulations under this section corresponds to a provision of section 25 or 43 it may provide for penalties not exceeding those provided for in the said section 25 or 43.
(6) Where regulations under this section are proposed to be made, a draft thereof shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the regulations shall not be made until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each House.
(7) In this section "political party" means a political party registered in the Register of Political Parties in accordance with section 25 of the Act of 1992 as a party organised to contest a local election (whether or not it is also organised to contest other elections).
(3) Section 75 of the Electoral Act 1997 (Local election petition), which was repealed by section 5 of the Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act 1999, stands revived.".
The purpose of this amendment is to introduce spending limits for local elections. This is actually the text of a Private Members' Bill reworded in the form of an amendment for the purposes of this legislation. We now have spending limits for Dáil and European Parliament elections. The irony is that we have no spending limits for local elections, which is anomalous. There are requirements regarding local elections whereby candidates must make declarations to their local authorities of the amounts they spend, and the source of the money. However, there is no upper limit. It is ironic that a candidate could spend a sum which might exceed what he or she would be allowed to spend in a general election.