Sinn Féin’s income in North almost twice that of DUP

Latest figures point to financial difficulties of SDLP as it considers merger with Fianna Fáil

The fifth largest party in the North, Alliance, spends and takes in considerably more than the third largest party, the SDLP

The fifth largest party in the North, Alliance, spends and takes in considerably more than the third largest party, the SDLP

 

Sinn Féin by a significant margin remains the highest-earning and highest-spending party in Northern Ireland, according to the latest figures from the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland.

The figures for 2017 also show that the fifth-largest party in the North, Alliance, spends and takes in considerably more than the third-largest party, the SDLP.

Last year, which saw both Assembly and Westminster elections in Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin had an income of just over £1 million and an expenditure of £1,139,000.

The £1,009,000 income of Sinn Féin was almost double the expenditure of the North’s largest party, the DUP. It took in £510,000 and spent £461,000.

Next on the list was the Ulster Unionist Party, which had an income of £458,000 and spent £552,000.

Apart from the high income and spending of Sinn Féin, what was notable about the figures was that Alliance, which won eight seats in last year’s Assembly election, had an income of £360,000 and expenditure of £355,000. The SDLP, which won 12 seats, took in £236,977 and spent £219,928.

The SDLP has been in financial difficulty since it lost its three Westminster seats last year. That lost the party about £100,000 in funding for research and policy development.

Cross-Border merger

The figures are released as the SDLP and Fianna Fáil are considering a merger, with announcements on such a move predicted for the autumn.

The Electoral Commission also disclosed that it has fined the DUP £1,000 for inaccurate quarterly loan reports. The two £500 fines were paid in August.

The Traditional Unionist Voice party was fined £1,000 for the late delivery of spending returns for the 2017 general election.

The commission head, Ann Watt, said it was “vital that voters are given an opportunity to see accurate and full reportable data on what parties spend money on in order to influence them at elections and referendums”.

“This provides transparency in the political finance system and is open for anyone to scrutinise,” she added. “The commission will continue to enforce these requirements on all parties and campaigners to ensure voters have the information they need.”