Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein US fundraising group's £18k for expenses

Dinner: Mary Lou McDonald
Dinner: Mary Lou McDonald

By Staff Reporter

Sinn Fein's US fundraising group spent almost £18,500 on expenses for the party in Northern Ireland in the run-up to the local and EU elections.

Documents reveal that Friends of Sinn Fein spent $23,312 (£18,447) on expenses for the party, according to The Irish Times.

It reported that the most recent submission to the US Department of Justice, which is required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, shows that the group raised $284,345 (£225,000) in the six months to April 30, 2019, just before the elections last month.

The newspaper said the documents show that a partial repayment of $5,000 was made on a loan provided to Ireland 1916 Commemorations Company. It is a Dublin-based firm set up by the party to hold events to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising.

Friends of Sinn Fein has been a hugely successful fundraising group for the party.

US law means that as a foreign agent of a political party, it must report its financial spending and details of its activities in twice-yearly filings.

The last six-month reporting period includes the annual Friends of Sinn Fein dinner in November in New York.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald was the guest speaker on the evening in the Sheraton Hotel Times Square.

Friends of Sinn Fein sells about 600 tickets to the $500-a-head event. Tables are often bought by the party's supporters in the construction industry and others.

The Irish Times reported that the biggest donors in the latest six-month period were United Structural Works, a steel manufacturer based in Congers, New York. It made a $20,000 donation.

A New York building company, Eurotech Construction, donated $15,000, with electrical contractor Campbell & Dawes donating $10,000.

Friends of Sinn Fein was established in 1995 "to provide an effective and efficient way for people in America to help Sinn Fein consolidate the peace process and secure Irish unity".

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