Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland political parties report £270k donations - majority from public funds

DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill (Owen Humphreys/PA)
DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Northern Ireland's political parties reported just over £270,000 from donors for the first three months of the year with all but £2k from public money, new figures show.

The Electoral Commission published the latest figures which show Alliance, the DUP, Greens, SDLP, Sinn Fein and UUP reported donations totalling £270,874 which was £73,404 less than the previous quarter.

However, of that cash only a £2,000 donation to the UUP came from outside public funds.

Public funds are donations from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Electoral Commission.

The commission published details of those donations to the six parties that were above the £7,500 reporting threshold. As such donations to the organisations may be higher.

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Sinn Fein reported the highest donations of £89,641 which was £53 more than the DUP for the period.

Next was the SDLP with an income of £32,509, the the UUP (£25,307), Alliance on £20,739 and the Green party on £13,089.

The commission also published donations accepted by regulated donees on a monthly basis. Regulated donees are members of registered political parties, holders of relevant elective office and members associations.

That showed £13,776 came from a member of a party and members of the Assembly for donations towards overseas visits.

Transparency helps to enhance public confidence and trust in our democratic process.

Donations from 2017 have been published regularly since a change in the law passed in parliament. Before donations were kept secret in Northern Ireland due to security concerns.

The Electoral Commission has been and continues to press for donations from 2014 to be published.

Ann Watt, head of the commission in Northern Ireland, said: “The political party donations and loans data that we have published allows voters to clearly see how parties in Northern Ireland are funded.

"This transparency helps to enhance public confidence and trust in our democratic process.”

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