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Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006

Part 3: Donations for political purposes

8.The purpose of this Part is to give effect to the proposals put forward in a consultation paper entitled Political donations in Northern Ireland: Proposals on the future of donations to political parties in Northern Ireland. The paper was published by the Northern Ireland Office on 5th August 2005 and the Government published its response to the results of consultation on 24th January 2006.

9.The proposed measures on political donations aim to exert more effective control over donations to political parties in Northern Ireland, by aligning the rules for Northern Ireland more closely with those that apply in the rest of the UK under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (c.41) (“the 2000 Act”). They are also intended to introduce more transparency into the donations process.

10.From 1st November 2007 the measures will require Northern Ireland parties to submit donations reports to the Electoral Commission. However, to guard against intimidation of legitimate donors, reports submitted before the end of October 2010 (or later, if this period is extended with the approval of Parliament) will remain confidential. The measures will also seek to limit donations from overseas to Northern Ireland parties. But in doing this they will recognise the special position of Ireland in Northern Ireland’s political culture by allowing donations from Irish citizens and organisations if they fulfil criteria which will be set out later, in secondary legislation.

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