Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald will not give €1,000 donation from criminal Jonathan Dowdall to CAB or charity
10th November 2022
SINN Féin has said Mary Lou McDonald will not give the €1,000 personal donation she received from convicted criminal Jonathan Dowdall to the Criminal Assets Bureau or to a charity that helps victims of crime.
It comes after a Fine Gael TD directly appealed to Ms McDonald on Wednesday to give the €1,000 donation she received via a cheque from Dowdall in 2011 when she was running for the Dáil to either the CAB or to charity.
“I am asking you, as a fellow member of the Dáil Eireann, that you give an amount equivalent to this and any other donations either from him or any of his associates, to give this money to the Criminal Assets Bureau as a clear statement that no political party or politician can be funded by any money connected to crime, however indirectly or remotely,” Dún Laoghaire TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said in her letter to Ms McDonald.
“If you will not do this, I would ask you to make sure that a donation of an equivalent amount is made to a charity supporting victims of violent crime.”
A Sinn Féin spokesperson said “no” when asked if the Ms McDonald would act on the suggestion from Fine Gael, claiming that “Dublin Central Sinn Féin recieved (sic) a donation of €1,000 in 2011, over a decade ago, which was properly recorded at the time”.
However, Sipo donation records show the €1,000 cheque was donated to Ms McDonald and not the Dublin Central party organisation.
The spokesperson added: “Mr. Dowdall at the time ran a successful local electrical business. Dublin Central Sinn Féin spent that money at the time.”
Dowdall became a Sinn Féin councillor three years after he donated the money to Ms McDonald but later quit the party, alleging he was bullied.
In 2018, he and his father were jailed for waterboarding a man they suspected of trying to defraud them three years earlier and last month Jonathan Dowdall was jailed for four years for assisting the Hutch gang in the notorious Regency Hotel shooting in 2016.
Ms McDonald said on Saturday she was “profoundly shocked” to discover Dowdall’s criminal activity and insisted had the party known of all this, she said, “he wouldn’t have been anywhere near Sinn Féin, he wouldn’t have been anywhere near me or anybody else”.
She noted, however, that Dowdall, “at one point was a person very good standing in the north inner city of Dublin”.
“So the shock was not just ours, but more widely felt, but let me just assure you had we known, he would not have been anywhere near us or in the Sinn Féin party,” she said.
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said last month that giving a donation of €1,000 to a charity that helps victims of crime would be “tokenistic”.
Instead, Sinn Féin would do more by representing constituents who are at the receiving end of organised crime, Ó Broin said.
But Ms Carroll Mac Neill, a TD for Dún Laoghaire, said she disagreed with Mr Ó Broin. “The worst thing would be to do nothing,” she concluded in her letter to the Sinn Féin leader.
Asked at her party’s ard fheis on Saturday if political parties should be able to carry out garda vetting of members, McDonald said such an idea “would be crazy”.