Political parties in Ireland would be banned from accepting crypto donations under proposed new regulations aimed at preventing Russian interference in the country’s elections.
As reported by the Irish Independent, government minister Darragh O’Brien set out the new measures in a letter to party leaders last week. The so-called political integrity rules will also introduce tougher regulations around foreign donations and political parties’ property portfolios.
O’Brien will also propose amendments to the Electoral Reform Bill 2022. He will also oversee a wider retooling of political funding laws.
The new measures are intended to block foreign interference when it comes to funding Ireland’s political parties. They will be guided by a soon-to-be-established Electoral Commission.
In addition to crypto funding, the Commission will also tackle misinformation online. It will have the power to remove or clarify information shared via social media.
“The appalling invasion of the Ukraine and insidious disinformation war highlight the ongoing fundamental threats faced by all democracies,” O’Brien said (via the Irish Independent).
Ireland’s funding taskforce was greenlit in January
In January, Ireland’s Attorney General Paul Gallagher gave the go-ahead for a new taskforce to address the rising number of cyberattacks from Eastern Europe.
The taskforce’s recommendations included:
- Establishing an “online advisory board” for potential cyber threats during election campaigns.
- Handing the Electoral Commission the responsibility of fact-checking content produced during election campaigns.
- Strengthening rules on parties receiving foreign donations. All parties must also provide full accounts which adhere to agreed standards and accountancy best practice.
According to O’Brien, the changes to existing laws will also include requiring “full transparency on political parties’ property portfolio.”
“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,” O’Brien told party leaders.
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