Labour TD Aodhan O Riordain has called on Sinn Fein to direct any funding it raises during the St Patrick’s Day trip to the US to Gaza humanitarian groups.
The Dublin Bay North TD said it is “stunningly hypocritical” of Sinn Fein to visit America for a fundraising trip and accept money from “Maga” (Make American Great Again) Republicans and “(Benjamin) Netanyahu cheerleaders”.
Mr O Riordain accused the party of “waltzing” into Leinster House wearing their Palestinian scarves while taking money off people who “will gladly cheer the Israeli war machine in Palestine”.
However, a spokesman for Sinn Fein said it does not fundraise in the US as part of their St Patrick’s Day trip.
“Sinn Fein does not fundraise in the US, only Friends of Sinn Fein, and they can only raise and direct funds in pursuit of peace in Ireland and Irish unity, so it would be illegal for them to redirect proceeds to anything else.”
Mr O Riordain said that as part of a 2017 trip to America around St Patrick’s Day, he and others organised an event to raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“Myself and some others went to New York and we organised an event to raise money for the ACLU in an attempt to put it up to Irish America, that the Irish story was one of immigration and that we needed to support those migrants in America who felt insecure because of the new Trump regime.
“We raised 30,000 dollars for the ACLU. But that’s not what Sinn Fein do. They go to New York and they take money off Maga Republicans and Trump supporters and Netanyahu cheerleaders for their own political operation, and it is stunningly hypocritical of Sinn Fein to waltz into Leinster House, wearing their Palestinian scarves, while taking money off those people who will gladly cheer the Israeli war machine in Palestine.”
He added: “It’s one thing for the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste, as the diplomatic leaders of the country, to go to the White House. If they were not to go, we would support that.
“But the bigger hypocrisy is those who come in here with their Palestinian scarves, but take money off those who will gladly fund or support on those who are dropping bombs on Palestinian people and take their money off them.
“It’s hypocritical, it’s wrong. So my challenge to Sinn Fein is this – you want to go to America and raise money. Go for it. Give all the money to Gaza. Give all the money to those humanitarian aid organisations for helping to feed and helping to shelter families and communities in Gaza.
“Don’t put it in your own pocket, because you know where the money came from.”
Labour Senator Rebecca Moynihan was also critical of major donors cutting funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides humanitarian aid in Gaza, after Israel accused some of its workers of taking part in the October 7 Hamas attack.
“I think it is a hugely disproportionate response from those 10 countries on the basis of the allegations,” Ms Moynihan said.
“It’s going to directly impact the delivery of humanitarian aid in Gaza, which we already know is a humanitarian catastrophe.
“I think it is important that in the White House visit, we do put it up to the US for both the funding of the Israeli war machine, but also the suspension of funding.”