Anne Strain left FG in December. There is a chasm at the centre – such was her presence and impact. A phenomenal woman

FG’s fond farewell to fundraiser


Fine Gael’s ideological reluctance to put a budgetary squeeze on high rollers doesn’t extend to its own comfortable bottom, eh, line.

When Enda Kenny took over as leader, he set out to restore his party’s political and financial fortunes. It took time, but he succeeded on both fronts. The Blueshirts stormed back to power last year, with an impressive election war chest funding the fight.

Whatever about the political aspect, the Taoiseach knows Fine Gael wouldn’t be enjoying such rude financial health now were it not for the outstanding work of professional fundraiser Anne Strain, who is leaving the party at the end of this month.

The effervescent Anne, originally from Tipperary, rebuilt FG’s finances over the past decade through a range of big-money events including golf classics, the president’s dinner and an annual national superdraw.

This year’s draw takes place on Wednesday. Tickets are €80, with a top prize of €20,000. The raffle, which has raked in over €11 million in ticket sales over the last nine years, is expected to swell the coffers by about €1 million.

Headhunting the former charity fundraiser (although many would say Fine Gael was a charity case when Strain was hired) has worked out as one of the best decisions of Enda’s leadership.

Anyway, after a decade of throwing parties for a party we trust the party will throw a party for party planner Anne before she departs.

She’s earned it.