% of the IRA's funding from Americans?

This is probably a hard number to pin down exactly, but how much of the Irish Republican Army’s funding comes from US citizens? And are there terrorist organizations in other countries that receive funding from citizens here?

It’s hard to quanitfy, but there’s no question that many Irish-Americans have given money to the IRA or to IRA front groups over the years.

Visit an Irish bar on St. Patrick’s Day in New York or Boston, and see how many Irish Americans get liquored up, start chant loud anti-English slogans, and empty their wallets for folks collecting money for any noble-sounding Irish cause.

I know because I come from a very Irish family, and I’ve seen it happen. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if some of the money I saw friends, neighbors and relatives fork over ended up paying for guns or pipe bombs.

To answer the OP: nobody knows. A pretty fair amount, though.

To correct astorian, pipe bombs are mainly a tool of the loyalist paramilitaries, not the IRA, which uses (or used) much more sophisticated weaponry.

In common with most civilains I have no idea of the actual amounts raised by the IRA and its offshoots in the USA. A WAG is that in overall terms it is quite insignificant comapared with the profits from drugs, extortion and other crimes in both Ireland and the UK. THe IRA is a formidable criminal organisation.

There is a lot of voluntary giving as well.

However more than the money it is the apparent legitimacy that goes with being funded by a mature free democracty that is of greater value.

I am loath to add this but, in the light of recent events perhaps sensible Americans, and others, will think twice before funding terrorism.

I would disagree. For one thing there’s not much evidence linking the IRA - at least the Provisional IRA - directly to the drugs trade, though they do extort from local drug dealers (and other businesses, both legitimate and otherwise). Whereas the sheer number of organisations devoted to raising money for “Irish aid” in the US indicates what a profitable enterprise that is. It’s known that these groups raise a lot of money - it’s just not known exactly where the money that’s raised goes.

Erm, no. I think it’s the money.

(Which is of course quite apart from the fact that it isn’t the democracy itself doing the funding, but some of the people in it.)

Why be loath to add that, it’s the most sensible thing you’ve said in this entire post :slight_smile:

Really? Why is it that I’ve never heard that or seen it widely reported? Cite, please?

I’m not condoning terror, I’m just asking.

ruadh wrote
“…To correct astorian, pipe bombs are mainly a tool of the loyalist paramilitaries, not the IRA, which uses (or used) much more sophisticated weaponry…”

Not necessarily more sophisticated, they did/do seem to favour nail bombss (An explosive charge packed in a bundle of 6" nails)
owlstretchingtime wrote:
“…I am loath to add this but, in the light of recent events perhaps sensible Americans, and others, will think twice before funding terrorism…”

The trouble is that those who contribute seldom see themselves as “supporting terrorism”, after all, you support “freedom fighters”, it’s the other side which have “terrorists” (from whichever side you view it).


They’ve used nail bombs, true. But I wouldn’t say they “favour” them.


“…They’ve used nail bombs, true. But I wouldn’t say they “favour” them…”

I meant under similar circumstances, where one of the “unionist”<1> paramilitaries would use a pipe bomb, their IRA/republican counterpart would tend to be using a nail bomb.

In other circumstances, yes IRA devices were much more sophisticated.


<1> I dislike “loyalist” and “nationalist” applied to paramilitaries as an insult to the many thousands of law-abiding Loyalists and Nationalists North of the border.

I’m not really sure what you’re getting at there - “under similar circumstances” :confused:

And your preference for “unionist” over “loyalist” for the pro-British paramilitaries has really got me stumped. The standard terminology defines a loyalist as a unionist who is willing to use violence to maintain the union (much as republicans are usually defined as nationalists willing to use violence to end it). Law-abiding unionists would surely be aghast at being lumped in with the UDA, UVF etc.

The IRA’s involvement in extortion has been widely reported, as has that of its Loyalist counterparts. Why you haven’t seen it, I don’t know. As ruadh says, the paramilitaries’ involvement in drug dealing is largely confined to extorting money from drug dealers, rather than dealing in drugs directly (though you could argue that this is a nice distinction). I believe that this has been confirmed by Ronnie Flanagan, but I can’t find a cite.

The obvious place to look for an answer to the OP, of course, would be in the IRA’s Annual Report and audited accounts. But for some reason I can’t seem to find it on-line.

Not all the paramilitaries, though. The UDA are up to their eyeballs in the drugs trade. The UVF and LVF are known to have some involvement as well. And I seem to recall reading a few months ago that a drugs find was thought to be linked to the Continuity IRA, but I’m not sure on what evidence. I haven’t heard anything about Real IRA involvement.

*Originally posted by ruadh *

The democracy isn’t doing the funding but the funding nevertheless takes place.

Mr. Bush has pledged to eradicate international terrorism. The US has managed to identify and freeze a number of bank accounts which are suspected of association with terrorist organisations. So far, so good.

Since Mr. Bush has lobbied foreign governments on the matter of terrorists funds, and the importance of identifying bank accounts which may feed terrorism, why does not Mr. Bush authorise the identification and freezing of those accounts which are connected to the IRA/Sinn Fein?

Please do not tell me that the political will is not there because the IRA/Sinn Fein poses no threat to the US, or that donors to the IRA/Sinn Fein cause have sufficient influence in US governmental circles to stop this from happening.

Only a cynic would believe that.

I actually meant to type “Republican paramiltaries” since the statement from Ronnie Flanagan which I dimly remember was specifically about them. But like I said, it’s a nice distinction between dealing in drugs and extorting a cut of drug dealers’ profits.

Well, Nostradamus, what do you think the answer is?

As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t think it will (or needs to) happen as long as the IRA ceasefire holds.

And Tom, I agree it’s a fine distinction, but when the question is how IRA funding from I-Ams compares to IRA funding from drugs, it’s quite possibly an important one.

This the fourth time I have asked this question in these forums, and no-one has been able to give an answer.

If the IRA ceasefire holds, there is an argument for saying that the IRA doesn’t need the money.

If the IRA ceasefire does not hold, there is an argument for saying that the IRA should not have the money.

I really wish to know the answer to this question. Why is the US government so reluctant to tackle the problem of funding an organisation such as the IRA?

If there is a problem with my tone, you can blame BT Openworld. :slight_smile:

In the US, there would be a First Amendment issue with banning contributions to a group just because it “doesn’t need the money”.

'Cause it’s a hell of a problem to tackle. You know, these groups don’t go around saying they’re soliciting funds for the IRA. Certainly some of the money donated to Sinn Féin does go for valid political activity, and some of that donated to Noraid does go to aid republican widows. We might all know that some of it also goes to buy Semtex from third world countries, but the paper trail to prove it just isn’t there.

Mr. Bush spoke on television last week, saying that 27 bank accounts had been identified as having associations with terrorism. The contents of these accounts have been frozen.

Mr. Bush did not say 'There is no point in the US government trying to trace sources of terrorist funding because it’s a hell of a problem to tackle. You know, these groups don’t go around saying they’re soliciting funds for Osama bin Laden.

I seriously doubt that anyone can prove that all the suspect funds in the frozen accounts would have been used for Osama bin Laden’s terrorist activities. It is entirely possible that some of the money would have been used for widows of Al Qaeda members who fell in battle, or whatever.

It might also be difficult to assert that Al Qaeda has never, or is not involved in ‘valid political activity’ in addition to the pursuance of terror.

Regarding the 27 accounts identified and frozen, I don’t really think the contents are going to be categorised in the manner you describe. The paper trail is going to be taken as read. If the money is connected to terrorism, that’s it, end of story.

Your other comment about the First Amendment is facile. The Troubles, in modern times, have been around for 32 years. I really hope this ceasefire holds, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Meanwhile the money continues to reach the IRA.

Thank you for attempting to answer my question. If you try again, please remember to compare like with like.

I think it is important to remind people at this time that there are very legitimate Irish Aid organisations, such as the International Fund for Ireland, and the American Fund for Ireland.

Noraid funds dont just come from America either. You’ll also find them in Australia too.

Also, I wouldn’t be so sure that the money coming from the Noraid tins is all that much anyway. The vast majority would come from Businesses, both knowingly and unknowingly donating. Or from Long Kesh clock raffles :wink:

And in the interest of fairness on the drugs issue, You’ll also find INLA members who were up to their drug engorged synapses in the trade also, However the UDA would prefer to keep up the pretense of “Defenders of Ulster” when in truth they are “Defenders of the Drug Trade”.

I think we’re into GD territory now, so I’ll move this thread. I’m sorry no one seems able to answer the GQ.

moderator GQ