Derry’s Aras hopefuls spent €360,000

Derry’s two candidates in the recent presidential election spent a combined 360,000 euro on their campaigns.

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness forked out more than 300,000 in his effort to take control at Aras An Uachtarain while independent Dana Rosemary Scallon spent just under 60,000, according to figures released by the Standards in Public Office commission.

However, the former Eurovision Song Contest winner did not qualify for a reimbursement whereas the deputy first minister’s ranking in the polls permitted him to recoup much of the money spent on his campaign.

The 27,263 euro Mr McGuinness’s campaign spent on transport and travel included a 2,869 euro payment to Morgan Fuels, the company owned by the man at the centre of the Frontline debate controversy.

Three of the seven candidates qualified for the maximum reimbursement of election expenses of 200,000 euro - President Michael D Higgins, Sean Gallagher and Mr McGuinness.

The most candidates could spend in their respective campaigns for last October’s election was 750,000 euro.

Eventual winner Michael D Higgins spent almost 360,000 euros. Fine Gael’s candidate, Gay Mitchell, spent the most at 527,000 euro. The next highest spend was on Mary Davis (414,000 euro).

David Norris spent 332,000 euro while expenses of 323,000 euro were incurred by Mr Gallagher. The election expenses in total amounted to amounted to just under 2,319,000 euro, with donations accounting for under 305,000 euro.