Sinn Fein: “He who pays the piper calls the tune?”

Recent articles in the press have highlighted the massive funding Sinn Féin received from US companies from November 2012 to May 2013, amounting to a grand total of $392,000 (€290,000.)

The articles written in Irish Independent and other papers are hypocritical and aimed at discrediting Sinn Fein. However the figures and the nature of the donations do speak for themselves.

Sinn Fein received $1,500 from the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a right-wing reactionary organisation that has banned gay and lesbian groups participating in their New York St Patrick’s Day parade and have used their financial influence to support Pro-life groups trying to prevent women in Ireland winning the right to choose.

Sinn Fein also received $5,000 from Marjam Supply Company. A government employment equality agency in the US recently found that staff at this company was subjected to racial abuse and another Sinn Féin donor, Hugh O’Kane Electric Limited, paid out $1.1m in compensation following discrimination claims by a dozen employees. They also received funding from Santo Petrocelli Snr – former chairman of Petrocelli Electric Company – who has been found guilty of bribing a corrupt union official, to avoid industrial action.

This is nothing new from Sinn Féin, in the past they received funding from a former senior executive at Lehman Brothers and they regularly organise a $500-a-plate fundraiser in luxury surroundings like Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. In the North, while implementing austerity, Sinn Féin actively opposes attempts to increase transparency in corporate donations. Yet in the South, they portray themselves as left-wing and anti-austerity party but as the old saying goes ultimately “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”