From April 1, 2010, the SDLP will voluntarily publish the names of all political donations over the threshold of £5,000, the Ritchie document pledges. Currently, political parties in Northern Ireland must only report donations over £5,000 to the Electoral Commission, who must keep the name of donors entirely confidential, given the concern over personal security. I believe that the time has come for the public to know who exactly provides the financial fuel that keeps party political machines in operation.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty