The Social Democrats have accused Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of two-facedness over the refusal of both parties to disclose the amount they are spending on Facebook advertising.

The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said today:

“Given the backdrop of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the furore over the Strategic Communications Unit, it is inexcusable that the two largest parties would not declare the amount of money they are spending to promote their policies and influence voters.

“All parties were asked by the Sunday Business Post this week to declare their Facebook advertising spend and the Social Democrats did so willingly, declaring that we spent €1,989.51 last year. Yet Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil refused to disclose to the public how much taxpayers’ money they have spent.

“Figures released to me recently show that out of over half a million euro spent on promoting the National Development Plan, Project Ireland 2014, a total of €75,000 went on social media. The indicative total budget for the campaign is a staggering €1.5 million. You have to ask where the Government’s priorities are when it considers it acceptable to use public funds for what is basically an
exercise in self-aggrandisement by the Taoiseach and his Ministers.

“The same two-facedness is apparent in Fianna Fáil. How can it in all seriousness promote a bill to make political ads more transparent while at the same time refusing to make public its own spending? Both parties are basically thumbing their noses at the public who have a right to know how much is being spent to influence their votes.”

ENDS

25 March 2018