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Sinn Fein receive £127k in three months - 40% of total Northern Ireland donations

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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (right) and deputy leader Michelle O’Neill.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (right) and deputy leader Michelle O’Neill.

PA Wire/PA Images

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (right) and deputy leader Michelle O’Neill.

Sinn Fein received over 40% of all party political donations in Northern Ireland in the third quarter of the year, the Electoral Commission has revealed.

For the period between July 1 and September 30, the party accepted £127,870 of which £93,670 was made up of public funds.

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

The DUP - which reported the next largest in donations - received £57,548 which all came from public funds.

The next biggest donation was to the Alliance party. It accepted £27,948.

Sinn Fein was also the party to accept the biggest donations excluding public funds at just over £34,000.

Only four other parties reported donations excluding public funds. They included the Conservatives (£10,000), Alliance (£7,500), People Before Profit (£2,000) and the little known Both Unions Party which received £16,810.

Both Unions Party was reported to be considering standing in the North Antrim by-election had Ian Paisley been unseated in the recall petition. It is a pro-EU party and advocates for a second Brexit referendum. While London-based, it was thought the party was targeting Northern Ireland in order to raise its profile.

In the latest period two parties, Engage and Veterans and People's Party, failed to meet the deadline for reporting donations. The Electoral Commission is considering both for possible sanction.

Registered political parties in Northern Ireland are required to ensure that any donations received over £500 come from a "permissible source". This can include individuals on the UK electoral register, Irish citizens or UK or Irish companies. Any donation to the central party with a value over £7,500 must be reported to the Electoral Commission on a quarterly basis. The party must also report any donations to accounting units over £1,500.

Last year the Transparency of Donations and Loans (Northern Ireland Political Parties) Order 2018 allowed the Electoral Commission to publish information about donations and loans reported by Northern Ireland political parties and other regulated entities from 1 July 2017 onwards.

The Commission continues to urge the Government to bring forward the necessary legislation to enable it to publish information about political donations and loans in Northern Ireland from January 2014, rather than from July 2017 as is currently the case.

Ann Watt, head of the Electoral 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 enhances public confidence and trust in our democratic process.”

Party political donations in Northern Ireland

Alliance                                                     £27,948
Both Unions Party                                £16,810
Conservatives                                          £10,000
DUP                                                        £57,548
Greens                                                     £11,655
People Before Profit Alliance               £2,000
SDLP                                                       £23,604
Sinn Fein                                                £127,870
TUV                                                         £6,831
UUP                                                         £23,237

Belfast Telegraph