Friends of Sinn Féin raises a further $390,000 for party in US
Latest half-yearly filing shows $52,288 of US money spent for party in Northern Ireland
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
US fundraising body Friends of Sinn Féin has raised a further $390,110 (€348,000), adding to the group’s $12 million cash pile that it has amassed since it was established in 1995.
According to its latest filing with the US Department of Justice, the political party’s US organisation spent a total of $327,964 during the six-month period to the end of April, including $52,288 on “Sinn Féin expenses - Northern Ireland”.
The payments made on behalf of Sinn Féin Northern Ireland related to “advertising, printing and legal expenses,” Friends of Sinn Féin said.
Some $136,676 went on “fundraising event expenses,” $29,673 on payroll and payroll taxes and $37,856 on general and administrative expenses. Travel related expenses totalled $53,752.
The latest half-yearly return for the New York-based organisation covers the Friends of Sinn Féin annual fundraising dinner at the five-star Sheraton Times Square Hotel in Manhattan last November.
Friends of Sinn Féin lists 180 individual donations of sum ranging from $10 to $20,000. Most donations came from the New York and New Jersey area, though money was also received from as far afield as Tallahassee in Florida and San Diego in California.
As US fundraising group representing a foreign political party, the group is required to file half-yearly returns to the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Top 10 donors to Sinn Féin
Some of the biggest donors to the group over the past 20 years contributed to Friends of Sinn Féin in the most recent half-year period.
They including some of the biggest building and construction-related companies in the New York and New Jersey area, including several started by immigrants from Northern Ireland and the Republic, and large US trade unions associated with the construction sector.
The biggest donation, for $20,000, was made by the building company United Structural Works, which is based in Congers, New York.
Pat Donaghy, a long-time supporter of Sinn Féin who also emigrated from Co Tyrone, donated $10,000 - $5,000 each through his companies, Favor Royal and Structure Tone, one of the biggest privately-owned construction companies in the US.
Bronx-based construction-related companies Preferred Mechanical and Preferred Sprinkler & Mechanical, founded by Belfast-born Sean Mackin, a republican and former member of the political wing of the Irish National Liberation Army, donated a total of $10,000.
JT Magen & Company, another New York building company and long-time supporter of Friends of Sinn Féin, donated $5,000. The company is owned by businessman Maurice Regan, the son of a Co Kerry native and a significant investor in Ireland in recent years.
Among the trade unions that donated money to the party’s US organisation in the period from November 1st, 2014 to April 30th, 2015 are the Laborers’ International Union of North American ($5,000) and Irish American Labor Coalition in Chicago ($1,000).
Former Wall Street financial trader Todd Allen, a close associate of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and a long-time donor to the organisation, gave a further $5,000 during the most recent fundraising period.
Mr Adams and the party’s Donegal TD Pearse Doherty addressed hundreds of donors at the annual dinner in Manhattan in November. Tickets to attend the event cost $500 a piece with many of the organisation’s biggest and most loyal donors paying for tables.
During his speech, Mr Adams attacked the Independent News & Media group of newspapers for its reporting on Sinn Féin. He was condemned for referring to how Irish revolutionary Michael Collins held the editor of the Irish Independent at gunpoint when it criticised him.
In March, The Irish Times published a detailed breakdown of almost 15,000 donations received by Friends of Sinn Féin from 1995 to 2014, the first time the party’s US donations had been analysed in such detail.