Fianna Fáil hope to raise €150,000 in their tent at the Galway Races.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was at Ballybrit Racecourse as the Fianna Fáil party's biggest fundraising event of the year got underway. Supporters of the party will pay between €75 and €400 each to mix and mingle with the taoiseach and other senior government ministers.
Speaking to RTÉ News Bertie Ahern defends Fianna Fáil's fundraising efforts at the event saying that it is very costly to run a national political party, and therefore the money is needed and justified. He goes on to describe Fianna Fáil,
Other parties do this. In some ways I am very chuffed at the fact that the only political party's fund raising affairs that gets any attention is Fianna Fáil. I know other smaller parties admittedly but they have had huge occasions and nobody seems to say boo about them or what they do. Sure I suppose that is because we are the best and the biggest party that we get that attention.
The Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan stresses the importance of the meeting to the tourism and horse racing industries.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 August 2006. The reporter is Jim Fahy.