Following Donald Trump’s claim that, as president, he would ban all Muslims from entering the Unites States in an attempt to prevent terrorist attacks, a range of commentators are raising eyebrows at Trump’s past support of the Sinn Fein political party in Northern Ireland.
As IrishCentral first reported back in August, Trump was one of the guests of honor at a March, 1995 fundraiser luncheon for Sinn Fein at the Essex House in New York. The tickets were $200-per-plate, and many of the guests made further donations.
Footage from the AP archives showed Gerry Adams – who had only been permitted a visa to enter the US for the first time a year earlier – give Trump a special shout out from the podium, stepping away for a minute to shake his hand.
And a photograph from IrishCentral’s sister publication the Irish Voice showed Trump and Adams in the midst of a close conversation with Trump clasping Adams’ hand in his.
However, as Trump’s critics are now pointing out, at this time Sinn Fein and the IRA were considered to be the political and military arms of the same movement, and the ceasefire agreed upon on August 31, 1994, was not maintained.
Less than four months after the New York fundraiser Trump attended, the Guardian stated, “the PIRA ended its ceasefire with a huge bomb in London’s Docklands on February 9, 1996. Two men working in a nearby newsstand were killed in the massive explosion, which caused $1.6bn in damage to the Canary Wharf/South Quay district.
The paper also noted that “on his way to the New York fundraiser a few months earlier, Trump would have seen a group of demonstrators protesting ongoing IRA violence, including victims of the 1993 Shankill bomb massacre in which 10 people died.
“There were also protests from the relatives of Catholics who had been shot, beaten and exiled by the IRA even after the organisation declared its first ceasefire on August 31, 1994.”
So why was Donald Trump so keen on Gerry Adams? We previously speculated that his interest was piqued by his own Gaelic heritage, as some claim Trump likely learned Gaelic as a child from his Scottish-born mother, Mary Anne MacLeod.
But The Daily Beast had a further thought: “Perhaps it’s because although his role in the IRA and Sinn Fein may be a source of controversy, there’s one thing you can say with confidence about Gerry Adams: He’s definitely not a Muslim.”