Updated 13 hours ago
TICKETS TO BUY a ‘Gold Table’ at an upcoming dinner in Australia with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald are on sale for over €2,000.
Tickets, from €140 for individuals and €1,400 for tables, will provide access to a dinner in Sydney where McDonald’s will deliver a keynote address on the pandemic, Brexit and Ireland’s position in the world .
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has already raged in the Dáil against the dinner plans, saying McDonald’s would “toast” Trinity alumni who are co-hosting the event.
The dinner is part of a wider McDonald’s trip to Australia where she is expected to meet various members of the country’s Irish community.
A Sinn Féin spokesman said The newspaper this afternoon that the party “will not receive any income from the tour”.
“It’s about engaging with the Irish community in Australia, with political representatives and with business and trade unions on issues in Ireland; north and south,” the spokesperson said.
They said the trip “will be funded by the party.”
The Sydney Dinner is co-hosted by the Australian Irish Chamber of Commerce, which hosts a series of events with McDonald’s, and the TCD Alumni Sydney Chapter.
A Trinity spokesperson confirmed that the college itself has no role in the planning or management of the event.
Tickets are available for purchase individually or for a table, starting at AU$214.50 (approx €140) and reaching $3,300 (approx €2,150) for a ‘Gold Table’.
The $214.50 (€140) ticket is available to individual members or Trinity alumni, while other guests would have to pay $242 (about €158).
A table of Trinity members or alumni costs $2,145 (€1,400), a table d’hôtes costs $2,420 (€1,580).
The Gold Table ticket “includes a seat at the VIP table with speakers,” according to the event’s website.
The event page says the Irish-Australian Chamber of Commerce “will be holding a series of events across Australia in July, with keynote speaker Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin President and Leader of the Opposition at the 33rd Dail”.
“Ms McDonald will share her thoughts on the impact of the global pandemic, the implications of Brexit and Ireland’s role in Europe and the rest of the world from a business and geopolitical perspective going forward. .
“We look forward to being able to bring such a prestigious visitor to Australia to address our members and guests, and look forward to the discussion.”
Dinner takes place at 7 p.m. on July 21 at See by Sydneyan event venue near Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Currently, the Dáil’s term is due to end the previous week. However, in recent years the term has been extended until later in July and a decision to do so again this year could yet take place.
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The Tánaiste referred to the trip to the Dáil earlier this month in response to pressure from Sinn Féin over the government’s response to the cost of living crisis.
During Q&A session with leadersSinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said: “As the Tánaiste hosted a private dinner party last night to celebrate Fine Gael’s decade in power, ESRI was finalizing its report on fuel poverty in this state as prices rose at the pace the fastest in 40 years.”
Doherty said that “while Fine Gael toasted their success in government last night, the reality is that many families are being pushed to the brink”.
Varadkar called the comment “a cheap shot”.
“I hosted a dinner party last night to thank my colleagues for their years of service. There was no public money involved. Sinn Féin hosts dinner parties in America, charging people €1,000 per plate to go attend, and the party leader flies first class to get there,” the Tánaiste said.
He said he believed McDonald was “about to announce” a trip to Australia where she would “clink glasses” with Trinity alumni.
Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin chimed in: “Anything to avoid the question – your housing crisis, your health crisis, your child care crisis.
It is not uncommon for Irish politicians to meet with the diaspora or other parties abroad, or attend fundraising events.
In May, Varadkar held a fundraising dinner in his constituency for Fine Gael, with tickets costing around €250 per person.