Senior Sinn Féin figures travel to US for Patrick’s Day fundraising

All those attending events abroad will go economy class, party spokesman insists

A number of Sinn Féin figures are travelling to the United States over the next week for a round of St Patrick's Day fundraising, as well as participating in some other engagements.

Gerry Adams will travel to Washington and New York while Rita O'Hare, the party's main representative in North America, will visit New York, Philadelphia and Washington. No further details were provided of the events Mr Adams will attend. However, a spokesman said the events of those travelling would include functions around the diaspora and others focusing on voting rights for emigrants, as well as fundraising.

Deputy leader Mary-Lou McDonald will visit New Orleans, although the party did not provide further details of the events she will be attending. Ms McDonald did not reply to requests for comment.

Cork East TD Sandra McLellan is in New Bedford, Massachusetts, until Tuesday. New Bedford is twinned with Ms McLellan's home town of Youghal and she will also attend a Friendly Sons of St Patrick dinner. Her office said she was not attending any fundraising events. Edel Corrigan, a Co Louth councillor, will also visit New York city, Washington and Pearl River, New York.


Speaking tour

The spokesman said all of those travelling abroad would be using economy class flights. Last year Ms McDonald and Sinn Féin MP

Francie Molloy

travelled to


on business class flights for a 10-day speaking tour, which took in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane. Ms McDonald defended the €4,000 tickets, saying no public money was used to pay for them.

The Irish Times last week reported that Sinn Féin had raised $12 million (€10.7 million) from some of America's biggest construction companies, as well as trade unions, Hollywood stars and small donors in a 20-year fundraising effort across the United States.

The 15,000 donations received by Friends of Sinn Féin, the party’s US fundraising arm, between 1995 and 2014 are the fruits of a fundraising effort unmatched by any other Irish political party in the US in modern times. Last year, US trade union leaders hosted a lunch for Mr Adams and Ms McDonald during their St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington.

The annual reports from Friends of Sinn Féin to the US Justice Department regularly list events during St Patrick's Day trips by senior party figures. In 2013, Ms McDonald hosted an event commemorating the 1913 lockout in The Manhattan Club, a hotel on New York's 7th Avenue.