BBC News

Green Party's Steven Agnew in political donations call

By Stephen Walker
BBC News NI Political Reporter

image copyrightPAcemaker
image captionSteven Agnew said the public must be able to see where political donations come from

The leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland has called for greater transparency when it comes to political donations.

Steven Agnew said all parties should make donations public.

The MLA for North Down told the BBC: "One person with independent wealth could fund a political party and we would not know it.

"No-one out there can say it is not happening, because donations are not being made public."

Mr Agnew said his party did not take corporate donations and publishes all donations over £500.

Northern Ireland is the only area of the UK where political donations are secret.

In other parts of the UK the names of donors giving more than £7,500 are published but in Northern Ireland they are kept secret on security grounds.

The issue has been debated in parliament in the last 12 months and the position will be reviewed by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers in October 2014.

Mr Agnew was speaking at his party's annual conference in east Belfast.

The party discussed a series of motions on the economy, education, fracking and the Richard Haass talks on flags, parades and the past.

A keynote speaker was Ross Brown, who is the party's candidate for the European elections on May.

He was joined by a number of party members who are standing as candidates in the local government elections which take place on Thursday 22 May.

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