Criticism of government refusal to reveal Northern Ireland political donations from 2014

By agency reporter
March 11, 2018

The Government’s refusal to reveal Northern Ireland political donations from 2014 is inadequate and fails to bring about necessary transparency to politics in Northern Ireland, says Transparency International UK

Earlier legislation had enabled the Government to publish details of donations made to Northern Irelands political parties from 2014. However, on 5 March 2018, the Government sought to legislate to increase donations transparency in Northern Ireland without requiring the publishing of donations made before July 2017.

Most political parties in Northern Ireland have expressed support for these rules to apply from 2014, which would include donations made during the key period of the EU referendum.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said: "The Government should rewrite these rules and ensure they apply from 2014. Any party that fails to get behind full transparency will only attract further questions as to what it is they wish to hide. It's deeply disappointing that Government has taken this position that only does half the job in bringing about transparency in Northern Ireland's political system."

"In 2014 the UK Parliament passed a law to enable these contributions to be made public and certain parties are already doing so voluntarily. There is no reason why these rules should not be applied from when this law was passed, especially as it covers the EU referendum, a major vote for the future of our country, in which many will have sought to impact public opinion."

"For too long, political parties in Northern Ireland have lagged behind the rest of the UK – failing to reveal who funds them. The potential for hidden payments is a serious corruption risk in politics and should end as soon as possible. The public deserve to know, and in the absence of published information they are left only to speculate, and the rumour mill thrives."

* Transparency International UK http://www.transparency.org.uk/

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