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26/07/2013

Electoral Commission Publish Parties' Finances

New figures released by the Electoral Commission have revealed the financial accounts of Northern Ireland's political parties.

In the last year, Sinn Fein posted a loss of £63,868 – the largest loss of all the parties. It spent more than £240,000 with a court settlement and legal fees. A total of £161,860 was paid by the party for legal and professional fees, while there was an outlay of £80,000 for a court settlement following the case last year when Belfast High Court ruled the party had libelled a former director of NI Water.

Declan Gormley was awarded £80,000 plus costs after suing the party over the contents of two press statements about his dismissal from the organisation.

Elsewhere in the report, the SDLP also recorded a loss for 2012, and while the DUP and Alliance saw their income fall from the previous year, both parties posted a surplus.

The UUP was the only party to record an income increase from the previous year.
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Despite its losses, Sinn Fein remains the wealthiest part in NI bringing in £1,090,792 in 2012.

The Electoral Commission published the accounts of parties whose income reached £250,000 or more.

In 2012, the SDLP's income was £338,177, while it spent £351,622 - a deficit of £13,445.

The DUP record an income of £479,360 and spent £293,908 - a surplus of £185,452.

While the UUP's income was £381,404 and its outgoings totalled £366,057 - a surplus of £15,347.

Earlier this year, the Commission said the Alliance Party's income was £197,490, with an expenditure of £124,740 - a surplus of £72,750.

Peter Horne, Director of Party and Election Finance said: "We are pleased that, for the second year running, all the larger political parties have submitted accounts to us by the statutory deadline. We have been working with parties to achieve this over a number of years.

"It is essential that parties continue to be transparent with their financial information so voters can see exactly how they are funded and how this money is spent."

(JP/CD)

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