SF’s US arm raises €318,000 but spends nothing in North

US public filing reveals take from party’s annual fundraising dinner in New York

Friends of Sinn Féin: Who constributed how much to the party. Photographs: The Irish Times/Getty Images

Friends of Sinn Féin: Who constributed how much to the party. Photographs: The Irish Times/Getty Images

 

Sinn Féin’s US fundraising arm took in $354,111 (€320,000) in receipts in the six months to the end of April, but spent no money on behalf of the party in Northern Ireland during this period.

Friends of Sinn Féin’s newly filed returns with the US Department of Justice show that the group’s expenditure totalled $338,656 during the half-year reporting period.

The party’s American fundraising unit, which is legally obliged to file details of its fundraising and political activities with the US government as a foreign agent, spent $149,000 on fundraising-event expenses, $77,000 on general and administrative expenses, $45,000 on travel-related expenses and almost $31,000 on staff costs and payroll taxes.

The six-month reporting period covers the group’s annual New York dinner last November, the biggest fundraising event in its calendar, when about 680 paying guests heard Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams speak at a $500-a-plate dinner in a hotel near Times Square.

The bulk of the money raised came from Irish-owned building companies and construction-related businesses in New York and New Jersey, many of whom are long-time donors to the party’s American arm. Several major US trade unions donated money to the party.

The Labourers’ Eastern Region Organising Fund, based in New Jersey, gave $10,000, while the Labourers’ International Union of North America donated $5,000. The union’s general president Terry O’Sullivan is a long-established supporter of Sinn Féin.

Top donors

Another trade union, the Great Lakes Region Organizing Committee in Chicago, donated $10,000. McGuigan Tombs & Company, based in Manasquan, New Jersey gave $10,000.

Among the donors who gave $5,000 were construction company Structure Tone, co-founded by one of Friends of Sinn Féin’s biggest benefactors, Tyrone-born Pat Donaghy and New York firm Henegan Construction.

Donations from individuals ranged from $15 to $500 and came from as far away as Georgia, Kansas and Florida. The biggest individual donor was JG Kennedy living in New York who gave Friends of Sinn Féin $3,000 during the six-month period.

The filings lodged with the Department of Justice in Washington provide details of the US itineraries of Sinn Féin TDs Mr Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Martin Ferris, and other representatives of the party for the November fundraising dinner and events around St Patrick’s Day in March.

Friends of Sinn Féin has raised more than $12 million in the United States since the group was set up in 1995 to establish a formal structure around the party’s US fundraising efforts during the Peace Process.