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Meeting expenses quota 'didn't dawn' on Freeman

Meeting expenses quota 'didn't dawn' on Freeman
Candidate: Joan Freeman. Photo: INM

Presidential candidate Joan Freeman has said it "didn't dawn" on her that she might not meet the threshold to reclaim her election campaign expenses.

Candidates must reach a quarter of the quota or at least 12.5pc of the overall vote to be able to claim up to €200,000 in election expenses.

The latest polls show that the five challengers to the incumbent are facing an uphill battle to secure enough votes to meet the quota.

Asked whether the senator feared not meeting the threshold in order to reclaim her expenses for running for the presidency, Ms Freeman said: "I don't ever think of that.

"It didn't dawn on me that I might not meet [it].

"I've never thought like that. You have to take a risk.

"I took a risk 15 years ago when I put my house up as collateral on a mortgage to set up Pieta House. That's the way my mindset is."

Ms Freeman has borrowed some €130,000 - including €120,000 at 9pc from businessman Des Walsh - to fund her campaign and planned to invest €10,000 of her own money.

The other four challengers to Michael D Higgins in the race did not respond to questions about the possibility they face losing their entire investment.

Irish Independent

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