There was an €8.8m gap between disclosed political donations and the amount spent by parties on their general election campaigns.

The Standards in Public Office Commission called for greater transparency in the system.

The Commission has already published figures for donations received by successful and unsuccessful candidates in last year's general election.

Today it published donations declared by political parties.

They total just over €250,000 for last year, the vast bulk of which came from their own elected representatives.

The Commission has called for greater transparency saying it was obvious that parties are soliciting donations that are below the threshold for declaration of €5,078.95.

While it says there is nothing wrong with this, it means that the legislation is failing in its aim of demonstrating how political parties are funded and how they pay for their election campaigns.

The Commission repeated its call for a new system in which political parties would have to provide accounts specifying all donations received, as well as disclosing details of donations over a certain value.

The figures show total donations in 2007 of €266,485, of which €222,793 came from elected representatives.

All of the donations declared by Sinn Féin (€187,223) and the Green Party (€29,750) came from their elected representatives.

Fianna Fáil declared €19,044 in donations, and the Labour Party €18,648.

Fine Gael and the PDs had no donations that needed to be declared.

The Fianna Fáil total was made up of three payments of €6,348, one from an individual - Edward Quinlan of Douglas, Co Cork - and two from companies – Healy, Healy, Hayes and Pierce Healy Developments, who share an address at Riverside Industrial Estate, Dublin 12.

The Labour Party received €6,348 from Greg Sparks of Glasnevin, €6,300 from Barry Hickey of Ballymore Project Services Ltd, Dublin 20, and €6,000 from SIPTU.

The differences for the various parties between donations received by the party, and its candidates (successful or unsuccessful) and the amount spent during the three week election campaign are as follows: Fianna Fáil - €3m; Fine Gael - €2.6m; Labour - €1.3m; PDs - €1m; Sinn Féin - €450,000; Greens - €476,000.