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Hollow victory by Alliance party on political donations

18 November, 2013 - by Caitríona Ruane

Sinn Féin MLA for South Down Caitríona Ruane said that there needs to be greater transparency and openness within the system of political donations.

This follows the amendment to the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill by the Alliance party that will allow any donation to a political party under the significant sum of £7,500 to be kept secret.

Sinn Féin MLA for South Down said:

“While any move towards openness in the political system is welcome, ensuring that donations to political parties of over £7,500 will eventually be published does not allow for an adequate level of scrutiny and transparency in the political system. This can only be claimed as a hollow victory.

“In the Sinn Féin submission to the review into legislation governing donations, we called for an end to the practice of keeping the identity of donors secret and that the threshold for reporting donations be lowered to £750.

“These were rejected by the British Secretary of State after lobbying from other political parties. I think the public would be very interested to hear Naomi Long’s position on dropping the threshold to £750.

 “Vested interests being allowed to secretly contribute £7,500 to a political party does a disservice to politics in general. It is a practice that needs to be brought to an end.

“Justifiable public cynicism is generated when it is perceived that political parties are not being open and transparent about their financial affairs.

“Sinn Féin and those who vote for us expect the highest standards from all of our public representatives and we will continue to act in an open and transparent manner with regards to our financial affairs. We would encourage the other parties to do likewise.”

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