Vested interests of various people…

WHILE the media focus on recent legislation was on foreign political funding, the Tele analyses how the Government has decided that parties in Northern Ireland will continue to receive donations anonymously for years to come. There’s good reason; a genuine-if-diminishing fear that donors will be intimidated. However, what is perfectly legal here is prone to what the rest of the UK and Ireland calls “corruption” – and voters here will never even know about it. For example, the DUP and Sinn Fein both recently did policy U-turns over sustainable rural development. So I’d love to know if any property developers are making donations to either party (and I have suspicions). But there is absolutely no transparency or accountability, so I can’t find out. Neither are elected councillors bound by any code of conduct, so if they “forget” to declare something they may have received as a “gift” from an interested party or lobbyist, occasionally a resigning offence elsewhere, that’s just something we’ll have to live with for the foreseeable future.