A pro-abortion group in Ireland has been forced to return a donation from US billionaire George Soros, after a public finance watchdog ruled it to be illegal.
The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) had received almost $25,000 from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) to fund a campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment – Ireland’s constitutional protection for unborn children.
OSF is bankrolled by Soros who, in addition to holding pro-abortion views, was a “vocal backer of same-sex marriage” in the early 2000s.
The Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) ordered ARC to return the grant, as groups in Ireland are not permitted to use overseas funding to campaign for domestic political purposes.
ARC received the grant in January 2016 after applying to OSF for funding towards “garnering support for repeal of the Eighth Amendment”.
ARC tried to claim the money was not being used for political campaigning, but returned the money in November.
In August 2016 a leaked document appeared to show that Soros uses OSF to push abortion on countries with pro-life laws.
It was reported by Catholic News Agency to specifically reference plans for Ireland, saying that repealing pro-life laws in the country could provide the catalyst for change in other pro-life countries around the world.
It was also said to state that the three-year plan is to “stem, mitigate and reverse the tide of fetal personhood laws”.
Two other pro-abortion organisations – Amnesty International Ireland, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation-affiliated Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) – received grants from Soros’s foundation.
These organisations both received over €130,000 and have refused to return the funding. The IFPA claimed its funds were not being used for campaining purposes and SIPO did not pursue the matter further.
Amnesty International Ireland admitted the funding was for campaign purposes, but said it did not consider itself to be under SIPO’s jurisdiction, because it did not view itself to be political.
George Soros made his name betting against sterling in the run-up to its exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in 1992.