Belfast Telegraph

Union donations to go, says Gilmore

Political donations from trade unions will be scrapped under plans to ban big business funding parties, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has confirmed.

The Tanaiste said there is no distinction between corporate and union donations, which account for around 5% of his party's annual funding.

The Government has pledged to prioritise the introduction of new laws to ban corporate donations as it unveiled its legislative programme for the coming months.

"The Government is committed to ending corporate donations," Mr Gilmore said. "Donations from trade unions will be included in that legislation and will be treated as corporate donations. There's going to be no distinction."

Unions which provide funding to Labour include Unite, Siptu, part of Impact and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association. Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein do not receive donations from unions.

Meanwhile, Mr Gilmore also said the Government will introduce its promised jobs budget in May.

But Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald lashed out at Mr Gilmore, accusing the Government of stalling over promises to reverse the one euro cut in the minimum wage.

Mr Gilmore said the Attorney General is being consulted to see if legislation is required to roll back on the cut by the previous government, which saw the rate drop from 8.65 euro to 7.65 euro.

"There's a pattern emerging here where you're kicking each and every issue down the road," Ms McDonald said. "I suspect that this is actually a stalling mechanism. I suspect that the Labour Party, this Government, are looking to the troika (IMF, European Central Bank and European Central Bank) to ask their permission to bring forward this matter."

Mr Gilmore said the Government will reverse the cut as quickly as possible.

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