herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Adams guest of honour at €500-per-head NY dinner

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams will appear as guest-of-honour at a lavish fundraiser in New York this week organised as part of the party's ongoing bid to build a massive financial war chest across the Atlantic.

Hundreds of party supporters and wealthy donors will be charged €500-per-head to attend the dinner in Manhattan on Thursday, which is being organised by the Friends of Sinn Fein (FSF).

Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald is also due to accompany Mr Adams. A Sinn Fein spokesperson said that the pair will travel via economy class and the flights will be paid by FSF.

The event is a major money-spinner for the party, whose finances have come under increased scrutiny in recent months from the opposition.

As reported by the Herald, Sinn Fein has raised more than $12m (€10.7m) in 20 years through donations from wealthy supporters in the US.

Mr Adams will address guests on the issue of the Peace Process and Sinn Fein's bid to build a "new and united Ireland".

The event is being staged in the four-star Sheraton Hotel, which is located close to Times Square. Cocktails will be served at 6pm, followed by dinner and Mr Adams's speech.

According to FSF, the event is being sponsored by a number of US-based construction firms.

Sinn Fein has received donations from large construction firms and trade unions in recent years. The event will be held just 48 hours after Sinn Fein comes under pressure in the Dail over the party's alleged links with the Provisional IRA and the Army Council.

Over two hours is being set aside for TDs to debate issues relating to Northern Ireland this evening, including the two recently-published reports into paramilitary activity.

Claims

The damning UK report, commissioned by the North's Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, claims that the IRA still exists and that Provos are still involved in criminal activity, particularly in the border region.

The report also claims that PIRA members believe the Army Council still runs Sinn Fein - a claim the party has vehemently rejected.

A separate report published by An Garda Siochana also confirmed the PIRA exists. However, it said there is no evidence of "military departments" this side of the border.

Nonetheless, both reports made for deeply uncomfortable reading for Sinn Fein members.

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