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Donations legislation needs to be changed to prevent Parties from hiding significant donations

22 July, 2005

Responding  to the latest annual report from the Standards in Public Office
Commission,  Sinn  Féin  TD  Arthur  Morgan  said  the legislation covering
donations  needed  to  be changed to give an accurate reflection of what is
raised by political parties.

Deputy  Morgan  said, “I don’t believe for one minute that Fine Gael or the
PDs  received  no  donations whatsoever in the course of the last two years
and the Labour party didn’t receive any donations in the last year – nor do
I  believe  for  one  moment  that Sinn Féin was the largest beneficiary of
donations  out of all political parties for the last two years.   It is not
a  credible  position  and  it calls into question the value of the process
that  is  conducted in relation to the donations statements parties have to
submit to the Standards in Public Office Commission.

“Unfortunately because the levels under which political parties DO NOT have
to publicly declare a donation are set so ridiculously high, at over €5000,
a  real  picture does not emerge of what parties are receiving in donations
from  individuals  and  corporations.  Are we seriously expected to believe
the Joe Higgins' Socialist Party receives more money in donations than Fine
Gael, the PDs and Labour put together?

“Sinn  Féin is still the only party to fully make our accounts available to
the  general  public.   We  have  nothing  to  hide in relation to where we
receive our funding and how we spend it.  We would call on other parties to
do  the  same  and  not  hide  behind  legislation,  which  allows you hide
significant donations from the general public and to pretend you are not in
receipt of donations at all.

“The  legislation needs to be changed to lower the level over which parties
are obliged to declare a donation.” ENDS

Note: SIPO statement says, “In the case of Sinn Féin, all of the donations
were made by party TDs, MPs or MLAs”

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