Latest political party donations in Northern Ireland published

Facts and figures

Six political parties registered in Northern Ireland reported accepting a total of £277,039 in donations and public funds between 1 January and 31 March 2018, according to figures published in Northern Ireland by the Electoral Commission.

The six political parties to report donations and public funds were:

Party Donations excluding public funds Public funds Total accepted in quarter 1 2018
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland - £18,615 £18,615
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) £4,000 £103,848 £107,848
Green Party - £16,842 £16,842
Sinn Fein - £80,327 £80,327
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) - £27,481 £27,481
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) £2,000 £23,926 £25,926
Total £6,000 £271,039 £277,039

Two parties, Sinn Féin and United Kingdom Veterans' and People's Party, failed to meet the deadline for reporting donations for this quarter. The Commission will consider each of these matters in line with its enforcement policy.

Registered political parties in Northern Ireland are required to ensure that any donations received over £500 come from a permissible source. This can include individuals on the UK electoral register, Irish citizens or UK or Irish companies. Any donation to the central party with a value over £7,500 must be reported to the Electoral Commission on a quarterly basis. The party must also report any donations to accounting units over £1,500. Other regulated entities such as elected representatives are also required to report donations over £1,500 to the Commission.

Regular donations made to a political party or other regulated entity from the same source in the same calendar year must also be recorded and ‘aggregated’. Once this aggregated figure exceeds the threshold of £7,500 (or £1,500 for an accounting unit or other regulated entity) then it must be reported to the Commission.

Ann Watt, Head of the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland said:

This is the second time that we have published data on how much funding political parties in Northern Ireland are receiving. We welcome the public scrutiny and transparency this allows within our democratic process.

However on this occasion it is disappointing to report that two parties failed to deliver their returns on time. Where there is no reasonable explanation for such a failure we will take a robust approach in line with our Enforcement Policy.

Further information

A summary of donations reported in the first quarter of 2018, including the highest donors, is available.

We have also published the first quarter donations and loans for parties in Great Britain. The press release can be seen here and the summary document here.

Full details of donations and public funds are available on our registers here.

The Commission continues to urge the Government to bring forward the necessary legislation to enable them to publish information about political donations and loans in Northern Ireland from January 2014, rather than from July 2017 as is currently the case.


For further information please the Electoral Commission press office:

Extra notes

Notes to editors

  • The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
    • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focussing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
    • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
    • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

  • The Transparency of Donations and Loans etc. (Northern Ireland Political Parties) Order 2018 allows the Commission to publish information about donations and loans reported by Northern Ireland political parties and other regulated entities from 1 July 2017 onwards.
  • The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires registered parties to report cash and non-cash donations and borrowing to the Electoral Commission on a quarterly basis. Political parties must report all donations and borrowing over £7,500 relating to the central party, or over £1,500 relating to an accounting unit. This includes aggregates of donations and loans from the same source during the calendar year. Once the central party has reported a donation or aggregate donation over £7,500 it must report each subsequent donation of more than £1,500 from that source.
  • As the parties only report donations and loans over these thresholds, the figures do not include all donations and loans to political parties. Donations and loans under these thresholds are recorded in political parties’ annual Statements of Accounts. To view these accounts, visit our register here.
  • Public funds are donations from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Electoral Commission. ‘Short’ and ‘Cranborne’ grants are available to parties in opposition in the House of Commons or House of Lords respectively.
  • Some donations appear on the register as being from the Electoral Commission. These are Policy Development Grants, which were established by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 for parties represented in the Commons by two or more sitting members. The grants are intended to assist parties in developing the policies that they will present in an election manifesto. The legislation provides the total sum of £2 million annually for all eligible political parties for this purpose. Policy Development Grants became reportable as donations for the first time in quarter three of 2006 as a result of the Electoral Administration Act 2006.