Belfast City Council back motion to name political donors

Alliance party Councillor Kate Nicholl proposed the motion.    Picture by Bernie Brown
Alliance party Councillor Kate Nicholl proposed the motion. Picture by Bernie Brown

Belfast City Council have backed a motion calling for transparency on donations to political parties.

The move has been welcomed by Alliance Councillor Kate Nicholl, who proposed the motion.

The motion was passed by 38 votes in favour to 13 against.

Unlike in the rest of the UK, Stormont parties are not required to reveal where their funding comes from, due to concerns about the security of donors.

Alliance wants Northern Ireland to be brought in line with Great Britain where names of those who donate over £7,500 are published. The motion was backed by councillors from Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Green Party, the PUP and the TUV but opposed by members of DUP and UUP.

Councillor Nicholl said local parties now need to follow through on their pledges.

“Increasing openness and transparency in politics can only be a good thing, particularly in the current climate,” she said. “Alliance already voluntarily publishes our large donor information but unfortunately not many other parties follow our example,” said Councillor Nicholl.

“It was disappointing to see the DUP and UUP voting against this evening’s motion, which sought to make politics more publicly accountable, and they will have to answer to the public as to why they did just that.

“However, it is vital all parties now follow through with the pledge of this motion. Although Belfast City Council has no statutory powers to compel parties to reveal their donors, all local parties should follow Alliance’s example and provide the public with information to help restore confidence in politics across the board.”