Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams  has announced that Larry Downes, the US President of Friends of Sinn Fein, is to step down. He stated he wanted to express his deep appreciation of what Larry Downes had helped achieve

Adams said: “Friends of Sinn Féin USA was set up in 1995. Since then it has raised substantial funds in support of Sinn Féin’s efforts in the Peace Process and to help achieve Sinn Féin’s aims of peace, justice and a United Ireland.

Under the direction of FOSF President Larry Downes, it has proved an efficient and effective channel through which people in the US can support Sinn Féin. Larry has been Sinn Féin’s registered agent since 1995. He has now decided to step down from his role as President of FOSF and Sinn Féin’s agent in the USA.

Sinn Féin is indebted to Larry for his 17 years of service. . He is a valued and trusted friend whose advice, guidance and commitment is deeply appreciated.”

The Sinn Féin leader also said that Jim Cullen, who is well known in US activist circles, has agreed to act as Sinn Féin’s agent and FOSF USA President.”

Mr. Adams concluded: “I am very pleased that Jim Cullen is to take up this post. He has worked closely with Larry Downes for many years and I am confident that he will continue with the work that Larry started as the first FoSF President.”

Note to Editor:

Jim Cullen was born in New York City of Irish parents.  He spent four of his early formative years in Ireland in Co. Offaly.

Following completion of law school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army as a Private in September, 1969.  He was selected for appointment to the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps.  He was later promoted up through the ranks to Brigadier General and Chief Judge, U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals.

Cullen  is on the Board of Advisors of Human Rights First, a prominent human rights NGO.  In 2004 Cullen helped organize a group of almost 50 retired generals and admirals under the umbrella of Human Rights First to speak against the Bush Administration’s interrogation and detention policies. He helped the late Paul O’Dwyer and Frank Durkan in some prominent cases, including the defense teams for Dessie Mackin and Joe Doherty.  He has also supported the campaign for an inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

Cullen coordinated the American witnesses in the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry.  He was an international observer to controversial orange marches. Jim has met with British officials in New York over the years to express the concerns of Irish America and the Brehon Law Society about British policies in the north of Ireland.


Sinn Fein President Gerry AdamsKimberly White/Getty Images North America