Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein records loss of £63,868

Sinn Fein spent more money than it brought in last year - with a court settlement and legal fees costing the party more than £240,000, new figures have revealed.

The SDLP also recorded a financial deficit in 2012, according to the Electoral Commission. While the DUP and Alliance party also saw their income drop on the previous year, both parties still recorded a surplus.

The UUP was the only Executive party that managed to record an income increase on the previous 12 months.

While Sinn Fein remains the wealthiest party in the region, bringing in £1,090,792 in 2012, it also recorded the biggest loss - £63,868 - having spent £1,154,660. This compared to a recorded surplus of more than £100,000 in 2011.

The turn-around in financial fortunes can in part be explained be outgoings of £161,680 for legal and professional fees and an outlay of £80,000 for a court settlement.

Late last year, Belfast High Court found the party had libelled a former director of NI Water.

Declan Gormley was awarded £80,000 plus costs after suing the party over the contents of two press statements about his dismissal from the organisation.

The Electoral Commission has published the accounts of parties whose income was £250,000 or more in 2012. The Alliance Party's financial results were published earlier this summer along with other parties that brought in less than £250,000.

The SDLP's income in 2012 was £338,177, while it spent £351,622 - a deficit of £13,445. The DUP brought in £479,360 and spent £293,908 - a surplus of £185,452. Ulster Unionist Party's income was £381,404 and its outgoings totalled £366,057 - a surplus of £15,347.

According to the Electoral Commission figures released in May, the Alliance Party's income was £197,490 and expenditure was £124,740 - a surplus of £72,750.

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