Monday 22 October 2018

Donald Trump attended Sinn Fein fundraiser amid anti-IRA terror protests

Donald Trump is running for US President
Donald Trump is running for US President

Donald Trump, who has called for a blanket ban on Muslims entering the US to combat terrorism in the wake of a mass shooting, once attended a Sinn Fein fundraising dinner in the early days of the peace process when the republican party was wedded to the IRA.

Archive footage from 1995 shows the current leading Republican presidential candidate shake hands with Gerry Adams and wave to the assembled press and guests at a $200-a-head dinner in the Essex House Hotel in New York.

Screen grab from the AP footage of Donald Trump meeting Gerry Adams.
Screen grab from the AP footage of Donald Trump meeting Gerry Adams.

The Sinn Fein leader jokes about playing the "Trump card".

More than 500 guests attended the function organised by Friends of Sinn Fein, the party's US-based fundraising group.

Adams had been granted a visa by US President Bill Clinton, despite objections of Prime Minister John Major and many within the States.

He had previously been banned for decades from entering the country because of the IRA campaign of terrorism.

Outside the hotel, protesters demonstrated against continuing IRA and loyalist violence. Among them was Alan McBride.

His wife Sharon and father-in-law Desmond Frizzell were killed in the Shankill bomb on October 23, 1993.

The blast killed 10 people in all, including IRA man Thomas Begley as he planted his own bomb.  Gerry Adams was a pallbearer at Begley’s funeral.

"He justifies the existence of the provos, of Sinn Fein, of the IRA, claiming that they were fighting for a just and lasting peace," Mr McBride said outside the fundraising dinner.

"Well I'm sorry but I don't see how my wife's murder helped IRA/Sinn Fein achieve peace.

"It's hypocrisy. Gerry Adams is a hypocrite."

Meanwhile, during the dinner, Gerry Adams told the guests.

"The British still maintain jurisdiction over a section of our people.

"And what we have to do is amounts to a tremendously massive endeavour.

"We have to make peace with a government which has sought only to oppress us.

"And we have to make peace with a section of our own people whose leadership has sought for decades only to discriminate against us.

"But let me say this, the peace process in which we are engaged threatens no one.

"The Ireland that we want would not be worth struggling for if it did not involve the northern unionist and the northern Protestants our brothers and sisters on that island."

During its campaign of terrorism, the IRA killed around 1,800 people in shootings and bombings, however since its 1994 ceasefire the organisation has been linked to 45 deaths.

It was not until 2005 it announced an end to its campaign of violence and decommissioned its arms.

Mr Trump's call for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US came in the wake of last week's terror attack in San Bernardino, California, where a Muslim couple believed to have been radicalised shot 14 dead at a health centre.

The property tycoon released a statement citing polling data he says shows "there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population".

Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering America until it was understood where their "hatred" comes from."

He later attracted widespread derision after claiming that parts of London were "so radicalised" that police were "afraid for their own lives".

Prime Minister David Cameron broke with the usual protocol of not commenting on potential US presidents by saying the billionaire's views were "wrong".

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News