Wednesday 13 December 2017

Donors to parties in North could soon be made public

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire. Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire. Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Michael McHugh

The UK Government is considering revealing full details of party political donors in the North.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has written to parties asking whether the time is right to move to complete openness and publish details of gifts and loans. The North was not included in an earlier scheme requiring the reporting of donations of more than £7,500 (€8,800) over fears donors would be intimidated if their details were made public.

"I would now like to seek views on whether the time is now right to move towards full transparency on donations and loans and to implement a change to the rules as soon as possible, bringing Northern Ireland into step with the wider UK," Mr Brokenshire said.

The parties' views will be sought on ending the current arrangements, which require full confidentiality.

"The political and security context in Northern Ireland has changed significantly since the last consultation on this issue and I know that political parties have been reflecting carefully on their previous positions," he said.

"Voters in Northern Ireland will also welcome more information about how their political parties are funded."

Alliance MLA David Ford said increased pressure from his party had helped bring about the consultation into the transparency of political donors.

On Tuesday, an Alliance motion calling for donor transparency was passed by Belfast City Council - although the DUP and UUP voted against it.

Irish Independent

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