Banker with Lehman links among SF donors


SINN FÉIN accepted donations from an Irish-American banker linked to Lehman Brothers and Crédit Suisse, as well as from several US-based construction industry interests.

The party, which berates other political parties in the Republic for accepting funding from similar interests, raised some $400,000 in donations in the United States this year, but reported a profit there of just $31,721, latest figures have shown.

The New York-based Friends of Sinn Féin plunged into a $54,000 loss for the six months ending in October, in large part due to a $60,000 transportation and accommodation bill for party leaders travelling to the US.

Transportation and accommodation for the entire year totalled nearly $100,000.

The first six months proved financially more rewarding, mostly due to the annual November fundraiser at the Sheraton in New York, but the party reported a catering bill of $113,000 for those six months.

The figures, filed with the US government’s Foreign Agents Registration Unit, are a long way from the millions of dollars the party took in in the 1990s.

This year’s donors include the usual eclectic mix of construction companies, trade unions and private donors that make up the bulk of Sinn Féin’s US income.

The party received its joint-largest donation, $10,000, from the Fitzpatrick Hotel in Manhattan, where representatives of several Irish political parties stay while in New York.

However, the Fitzpatrick’s appreciation of Sinn Féin does not appear to have been reciprocated.

According to itineraries filed with the Foreign Agents Registration Unit, Gerry Adams and Richard McAuley stayed at the Affinia and Sheraton Hotels in New York during their trip to attend the Friends of Sinn Féin New York gala in November 2010.

Caitríona Ruane stayed at the Sheraton for the same trip, while Alex Maskey, Martina Anderson and Raymond McCartney stayed at the Affinia, all for the same black-tie event at the Sheraton.

A week later Ms Ruane stayed at the Bethesda Marriott while attending the Maryland Irish Festival.

Mr Adams and Richard McAuley stayed at the Hilton Gardens Hotel in Washington DC for the same trip before staying at the Affinia in Manhattan for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Republican plot at Calvary cemetery in Queens.

Gerry Kelly and Pat Sheehan also stayed at the Affinia while attending hunger strike commemorations at the Manhattan Club.

The party’s fundraising sources remain varied.

It received a $500 donation from the East Hampton Indoor Tennis Club, located in the heart of New York’s wealthy Hamptons region on Long Island, the summertime playground of some of America’s wealthiest people.

A supervisor at the club did not return phone and email queries up to last evening.

The party also received $6,000 from Longford-born Michael Brewster, managing director of Crédit Suisse private banking, who held a similar role at Lehman Brothers before its collapse in 2008.

Mr Brewster, who donates to the US Republican Party, said he was “more Fianna Fáil than Sinn Féin” but wanted to encourage Sinn Féin’s role in the peace process.

The Manhattan-based computer networking company, Snarling Realities Inc, donated $2,000.

Much of Sinn Féin’s funds came from Irish-American construction companies and their business partners.

Irish American building companies, Henegan Construction and Structure Tone, gave $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.

Structure Tone, with strong Tyrone ties, has been one of Sinn Féin’s most consistent donors.

The conservative Catholic fraternity group, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, also continued its long history of Sinn Féin donations, with $1,000 coming from the Portland, Oregon, division and $500 from the Msgr Crean division in Hamilton, New Jersey. The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians in Montgomery, Pennsylvania, gave $400.

Union donations also remained strong. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters donated $4,000; the Asbestos, Lead Hazardous Waste Labourers’ Union gave $2,500; the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators gave $2,000; the National Postal Mail Handlers Union $1,200; the Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers gave $800 and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees gave $400.

The El Monte and Pleasanton branches of the Southern California District Council of Labourers gave $5,000 each.