Ireland to enforce rule outlawing crypto donations to political parties

  • The government is working on a draft that will bar political parties from taking donations in cryptocurrency
  • The ban represents efforts by the country to counter cyber-interference from Russia

Fear of cyber-interference in Irish elections from Moscow has pushed the government of Ireland to ban political parties from accepting crypto donations. 

It is also understood that the government is looking to impose other measures such as regulations to curb the spreading of false information via social platforms as part of the new political integrity rules. This will be enforced by a new commission that would have the authority to regulate online electoral information upon its establishment. 

The parties shall further be required to comply with new stricter rules intended to eliminate all loopholes in foreign donations. The goal is to ensure that resources obtained from non-Irish don’t have a sway on the electoral processes and Iran’s democracy. 

In line with the new electoral reforms, the parties are also obliged to disclose information on their property portfolios.

The changes were brought forward by Darragh O’Brien, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage who included the measures in a note to party leaders. 

“I will engage with constructive, practical suggestions to further these objectives of copper-fastening the defence of our democracy in the face of autocratic aggression in Europe […] In light of the urgency of the challenges, I aim, with your co-operation, to pass this legislation and have the new Electoral Commission established by the summer recess,” Irish outlet quoted O’Brien.

There have been allegations that the Irish republican and democratic socialist political party Sinn Féin has secured substantial funding from the US. 

A troubled history with crypto

Last May, the central bank of Ireland observed that the growing adoption of digital assets had become a matter of serious concern. Derville Rowland, the Director General (Financial Conduct) at the bank, described cryptocurrencies as ‘speculative’ and ‘unregulated.’ 

The Irish central bank, however, isn’t the only one to caution investors to be wary of the risks associated with cryptocurrencies. The central banks of England, India and even Russia have all voiced their worries over the growing prominence of cryptocurrencies. 

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Author: Sam Grant