Saturday’s Irish Times helpfully dissected the official accounts of Friends of Sinn Féin in the US – Friends of Sinn Féin raised almost $760,000 from US donors.. with $424,000 spent in the US, and just over $394,000 sent back to Northern Ireland. An interesting quote from a “SF spokesman” is noted – He said Sinn Féin did not “physically” receive the money from Friends of Sinn Féin... SF sent invoices for work carried out and FofSF paid the bills.. Hmm.. I’m not sure that’s much of a distinction.
Full report below –
$215,000 spent on SF leaders and officials in US last year – Seán O’Driscoll in New York and Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
The US fundraising group Friends of Sinn Féin spent almost $215,000 in the US last year on transport and lodging for party leaders and officials, new figures have shown.
The figures, covering November 2003 to November 2004, show that the amount of money the organisation spent in the US was almost $30,000 more than the amount it sent back to the party in Northern Ireland.
An analysis of combined expenditure figures for November 2003 to April 2004 and from May 2004 to November 2004 shows that Friends of Sinn Féin raised almost $760,000 from US donors in that time.
It spent $29,000 more in the US than in Ireland, with $424,000 spent in the US, and just over $394,000 sent back to Northern Ireland. Under current legislation such money cannot be sent to the Republic of Ireland but can be used in the North.
These sums are included in figures Sinn Féin and all other foreign political parties operating in the US are obliged to lodge with the US department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The US expenditure figures include $50,000 on payroll, $42,000 on advertising, almost $14,000 in miscellaneous costs, $11,000 on rent and $17,000 on postage and delivery.
The $214,578.31 the party spent on lodging and transport for Sinn Féin leaders and officials included a night at the Southgate Hotel in Manhattan for Kerry TD Martin Ferris last September.
The figure also included Gerry Adams’s trip to the US last November when he addressed the Friends of Sinn Féin annual dinner at the Sheraton Hotel before travelling to fundraising events in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
The travel and lodging figure does not include more than $4,000 listed for transportation in the US, or almost $24,000 sent back to Ireland to be used for travel expenditure.
Of the $394,000 sent back to Ireland, the party spent $112,000 on construction and $111,000 on printing.
A Sinn Féin spokesman explained that the printing expenditure related to election expenses, while the construction work was for the development of a Sinn Féin office in south Derry.
He said Sinn Féin did not “physically” receive the money from Friends of Sinn Féin.
Instead Sinn Féin sent invoices for particular work to the US fundraising group which paid these bills.
“We believe this allows for greater transparency,” the spokesman added.
© The Irish Times