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.

  • aquifer

    And in a system of government where partys pick ministries like kids’ in the street pick football teams, how are you going to ensure accountability for anything?

  • wild turkey

    gonzo

    what are your suspicions and any substantiating evidence re sustainable development? if the evidence cannot, for whatever reasons, be put in the public domain, say so. not that i disagree with your post or inferred analysis. but where’s the beef?

    as i recently posted. in feb 79 i lived in boston and the weather was bitterly cold, below zero F during the day and even worse at night. the joke in boston was

    its so cold
    how cold is it?
    well yesterday I saw a politician with his hands in his own pocket

    with respect to the late HST… and 2 u

  • aquifer

    The DUP at least have good developer connections. Is this a secret at all?

    We should have party donations declared by business category, without having to name names.

  • Pete Baker

    Worries about undue pressure from developers may well be a future concern, and it may well also be a current concern to some extent… but it’s hardly the issue du jour.

  • Nevin

    Aquifer, any councillor who mentions links between certain developers and certain political parties is likely to be threatened with court action by certain developers. And the councillor’s legal costs would probably, er, spiral. Sadly, councillors or anyone else are unlikely to be protected by the Government from this form of blackmail/censorship.

  • Nevin

    [i]So I’d love to know if any property developers are making donations to either party[/i]

    Gonzo, is there anything to stop a developer, say, giving a politician a house or a site at a ‘bargain’ price?

  • Taughmonagh

    To be fair Gonzo, the DUP did not do a policy u-turn on rural development. As far as I know, they have consistently opposed the establishment of an EPA and have opposed PPS14 since it was announced.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The DUP environment spokesman took a different view. Right up until he resigned a couple of weeks ago, over the very issues you list.

    I’m sure the party can justify this policy U-turn, but don’t the voters deserve to know who might be influencing it?

    After all, it’s just the future of what our countryside looks like, involves millions upon millions of pounds, will affect the housing market and may impact on tourism.

    Maybe not the issue de jour, but we wouldn’t want North Antrim ending up like the Donegal Gaeltacht now, would we?

  • elvis parker

    Peter Robinson’s favourite TV programme in Fraser