Jonathan Dowdall’s €1k for Mary Lou McDonald in 2011 wasn’t only Sinn Féin donation
13th November 2022
Jonathan Dowdall made further donations to Sinn Féin by purchasing tickets for party fundraisers, including one involving Mary Lou McDonald, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
Sinn Féin is declining to say exactly how much money the former Dublin city councillor, who was last month jailed for four years for his part in the 2016 Regency Hotel attack, donated to the party in addition to the €1,000 cheque he gave to Ms McDonald when she ran for the Dáil in 2011.
As well as the election campaign donation, Dowdall bought tickets for a dinner dance and a local event. A source told the Sunday Independent that Dowdall purchased a table at a private fundraiser for Ms McDonald and her constituency organisation in Dublin Central in the Gresham Hotel on O’Connell Street in July 2013.
It was at this event that a picture of Dowdall with Ms McDonald and former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was taken. The source suggested that tickets for such events could have cost between €50 and €100 per person, meaning a table would have cost between €500 and €1,000. A second source said Dowdall “always bought a table” at Sinn Féin fundraising events.
A party spokesperson would only state: “Johnathan (sic) Dowdall made a single donation to the party of €1,000 in 2011 and he also purchased tickets to a dinner dance and a local event.”
Sinn Féin has declined to give the €1,000 which Dowdall donated via a cheque to Ms McDonald in 2011 to either the Criminal Assets Bureau or a charity that helps victims of crime despite calls on it to do so. Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said such a move would be “tokenistic” and said the party could do more by representing constituents who are on the receiving end of organised crime.
Dowdall was elected to Dublin City Council for Sinn Féin in 2014 but later quit the party and the local authority. In 2018, he and his father were jailed for waterboarding a man they suspected of trying to defraud them at Dowdall’s family home in January 2015.
Dowdall was a Sinn Féin councillor at the time of the incident though he had three months earlier declared he was quitting Sinn Féin, citing health reasons and “negative rumours” about him.
He eventually resigned as a councillor altogether in February 2015, a month after the waterboarding incident.
Last month, he was jailed for four years for facilitating the murder of David Byrne, who was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in Dublin in February 2016..
Ms McDonald said last weekend she was “profoundly shocked” to discover Dowdall’s criminal activity and insisted had the party known, “he wouldn’t have been anywhere near Sinn Féin… anywhere near me or anybody else”.
She noted that Dowdall “at one point was a person very good standing in the north inner city of Dublin”.