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Sinn Fein's US arm raises $70,000 in past six months

Sinn Fein raised almost $70,000 (£55,000) in six months in the US this year.

The party's American fundraising arm, Friends of Sinn Fein, collected the money at events and from individual donors between May and October.

The latest filings to the US State Department, published last Friday, show the party took $69,735. All of the money stayed in Sinn Fein's five bank accounts in New York.

The money received was less than the $144,875 (£113,770) cost of running Friends of Sinn Fein for the six-month period.

General office expenses amounted to more than $43,000 (£33,767), while $28,226 (£22,165), was spent on travel and accommodation, mostly for visiting Sinn Fein TDs such as the party's deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and then Education Minister John O'Dowd - both of whom flew to the US during the six-month period.

The biggest donor was United Structural Works, which gave the party $20,000 (£15,705) in May.

O'Sullivan Equipment and Keelan McLaughlin each donated $10,000 (£7,853). Most of the donors are Irish-Americans who are long-term contributors.

The $70,000 takings for the past six months did not include Sinn Fein's biggest money-spinner - the annual Friends of Sinn Fein dinner, held in New York every November. The $500-a-plate event (£393) usually raises more than $400,000 (£314,119).

Last year it emerged the party raked in $12m (£9.42m) from US businesses, celebrity donors and trade unions over the past 20 years.

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