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Alliance vows to publish property developer donations

By Staff Reporter

Published 20/04/2015

Trail-blazer: Andrew Muir is mayor in North Down
Trail-blazer: Andrew Muir is mayor in North Down

The Alliance Party has said its councillors will publish any donations obtained from property developers.

It said they will also declare any donations when tasked with making planning-related decisions.

Northern Ireland's 11 new councils were handed greater planning powers on April 1.

However, there is nothing in force that means the names of donors to parties have to be revealed.

There are fears this could lead to abuse of the new planning system by property developers.

Ards and North Down councillor Andrew Muir said: "The public have a right to know when councillors will be making decisions on planning issues that involve individuals who have made large donations to their party."

Yesterday, Northern Ireland's chief planning officer said she was confident adequate safeguards were in place to ensure councillors acted impartially. She told BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Business programme that her aim was to provide a high-quality service.

"That necessitates everybody operating to the highest standards in order to secure confidence in what is a particularly new system," she said.

Belfast councillor Michael Long said other parties had rejected Alliance's attempts to increase transparency.

"Alliance has had to continually fight for a fairer, more open and transparent system and will continue to do so," he said.

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