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Friends of the Earth today (2 August 2012) responded to the release by the Northern Ireland Electoral Commission of political party accounts for the year 2011, by calling on the Northern Ireland Secretary to launch a new public consultation on the subject of party donor transparency.


Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where the register of major donors, those who give more than £7500 in a year, to political parties is kept secret.  The temporary legislation blocking public access to the register is up for renewal or expiry in February 2013.  A public consultation in the lead up to the previous renewal period, in autumn of 2010, received an overwhelming majority of responses in favour of full transparency.


James Orr, Director of Friends of the Earth, said:


“Citizens of Northern Ireland are caught in a Catch 22 where we can’t have the normal democratic right to know who funds our politicians until our society becomes normal, but our society cannot become normal until we have normal democratic rights. 


“We commend the Electoral Commission for calling on a timetable setting out how transparency can be improved.  We would go further and demand a new public consultation on the issue this autumn.  We’re confident that most Northern Ireland citizens responding to such a consultation would agree with us that party funding should become completely transparent by spring of next year.”


The Friends of the Earth Ltd Who Pulls the Strings campaign is calling for complete parity with the rest of the UK by March 2013.  To find out more about the campaign, and to take action, go to

For further information, please contact Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland on 028 9023 3488.


Published by Friends of the Earth Trust