Saturday 3 December 2016

Mary Lou McDonald: 'I was subjected to very invasive searches by US authorities'

Kevin Doyle Group Political Editor

Published 22/03/2016 | 11:49

Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Tom Burke
Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald has claimed she was subjected to “heavy-handed and very invasive” security searches while travelling home from the United States after St Patrick’s Day.

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The party’s deputy leader described the treatment of Sinn Féin members by the US authorities as “almost off the wall”.

“Certainly people have to be kept safe and all the rest of it. We represent absolutely no threat to anybody and I think they know that,” she said.

It comes as Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams revealed he intends to write to the White House to complain about his treatment during the St Patrick’s Day festivities.

READ MORE: Gerry Adams calls for review of US security for Sinn Fein after Martin Ferris detained for several hours in US

Mr Adams was detained for over an hour while trying to gain access to the ‘Shamrock Ceremony’ due to an “administration error”.

He said that while he accepts an apology he does not believe the reason given for stopping his entry to the party.

Controversially Mr Adams likened his treatment to that or civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks, claiming Sinn Féin would not sit at the back of the bus for anybody.

Read More: Now Sinn Féin claim TD Ferris was 'held for hours' at Boston airport

Speaking outside Leinster House today, Ms McDonald said her party were being treated unfairly year after year in the US but the White House incident had brought the situation into the limelight.

“I’ll be meeting with the ambassador, we’ll be talking to the authorities because this shouldn’t be happening. It’s completely unnecessary,” she said.

Read More: US Secret Service says it 'regrets' delay involving Gerry Adams’ entry into St Patrick’s Day reception in White House

“The administration in the US is well aware that Sinn Féin and the leadership of Sinn Féin over many years have been architects of the peace process, are a force for good, for positivity, for democracy.

“And whereas stringent security is defensible, singling people out, it seems to me simply on the basis of your political view, is not an acceptable thing to do,” Ms McDonald said.

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