No breach of rules in TDs’ pro-life trips to the States

Eleven TDs who undertook trips to the United States funded by a pro-life organisation have been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo).

Following an investigation launched by Sipo into the trips, which were funded by the Family and Life group and took place in 2012 and 2013 as the Government was moving towards abortion legislation for Ireland, it was found that the purpose of those trips was purely educational, and therefore no official declaration in relation to TDs’ gifts was required.

Under current rules governing TDs’ financial activities, deputies are required to record and declare political donations and gifts above specified limits.

In ruling in favour of the TDs, however, Sipo expressed concern that the question of trips funded by third parties is not covered under current legislation, leading to possible interpretations of political favours arising from such arrangements.


Those who travelled courtesy of Family and Life were Fianna Fáil’s Brian Ó Domhnaill  and Senators Paschal Mooney and Jim Walsh; Fine Gael’s Fidelma Healy Eames, Terence Flanagan, Peter Mathews, John O’Mahony, James Bannon and Paul Bradford and Independents Mattie McGrath and Senator Rónán Mullen

In the subsequent Dáil vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, only John O’Mahony and James Bannon voted in favour of the Act.