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Accountability a pressing issue with our parties

Published 22/06/2015

Recently, I asked the Electoral Commission to explain why political donations are not clearly revealed in Northern Ireland, unlike more civilised parts of the UK. There response was as follows:

"The Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 places a duty on the Electoral Commission to keep details of donations and loans reported by political parties in Northern Ireland confidential. This provision was put in place because of the Government's concerns that donors may be at risk of intimidation if details of donations were published.

"The Electoral Commission has consistently called for an increase in transparency of political donations in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 made provision for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to increase transparency of donations and loans. Secondary legislation is currently being drafted and we hope it will be in place later this year.

"When this is in place, the Commission will be able to publish details of donations and loans made to political parties from January 1, 2014, but we will not be able to publish the names of donors."

Because of this, I have decided in future never to vote for any party in Northern Ireland until they reveal their donations.

BART SHOLTO

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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