Belfast Telegraph

Name all political donors: Alliance

By Allan Preston

Political parties in Northern Ireland are facing fresh calls to reveal where their money comes from.

Tonight, at a meeting of Belfast City Council, Alliance will put forward a motion calling for parties to reveal the names of those who make financial donations to them.

Alliance councillor Kate Nicholl, who is bringing the motion to the council, said that given the furore surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal at Stormont, now was the time for full transparency.

"The public's confidence in local politics is at an all-time low, which is quite the feat considering some of the scandals which have mired it previously," she said. "One of the major problems is people do not know who is funding our political parties and potentially influencing decision-making.

"Alliance voluntarily publishes our large donor information and we believe other parties should follow our example. Now, more than ever, is the time for full transparency. We once again have disturbing allegations of corruption but other parties continue to give excuses as to why they will not publish their information."

Unlike other regions in the UK, single donors in Northern Ireland who make contributions of more than £7,500 have been allowed to remain anonymous due to security concerns.

Alliance leader Naomi Long has called on Secretary of State James Brokenshire to lift the exemption that keeps the names of large donors private.

Former DUP councillor Ruth Patterson - who is also introducing a council motion this evening calling for First Minister Arlene Foster to step aside over RHI - said she backed the naming of political donors.

"I think it's good for people to know where political parties' money comes from and there are no underhand dealings going on behind the scenes," she said.

"Are there outsiders funding their political status, for example? It's good for us to know."

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