A rise in regular party funding by the state in excess of 50 per cent between 2017 and 2018 was not adequately substantiated and was not in line with the difficult times the country was going through, the audit service said on Friday.
“We recommended that the House services, in cooperation with the finance ministry and the parties, carry out a study into the matter so that in the future it (funding) will not be based on random, but objective facts and criteria,” a parliamentary audit report said.
In 2018, the state allocated some €10.8m to political parties according to their electoral power.
The amount includes €314,640 given to party youth organisations and €100,000 for overseas seminars and conferences.
Close to €4m goes toward the salaries of 101 assistants employed by parties.
Net regular funding in 2018 was €6.6m compared with €4.08m the previous year.
The audit service said state funding should not be separate from the maximum allowed annual private donation of €50,000. Because of the increase, the service suggested looking into reducing the maximum private donation.
The service also recommended putting criteria in place in relation to the number of assistants the parties employee.
There have even been cases where parties hired staff to replace an assistant who was on leave for a long time.