McDonald joins SF complaints about US security
Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30
Sinn Féin's Mary-Lou McDonald has become the latest figure in her party to complains about security in the US.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was delayed by the Secret Service heading into a White House reception last week. Mr Adams bizarrely likened his treatment to that of iconic civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks, claiming Sinn Féin would not sit at the back of the bus for anybody.
Then Martin Ferris got held up by airport security in Boston.
Now McDonald claims she was subjected to "heavy-handed and very invasive" security searches while travelling home from the United States after the St Patrick's Day festivities.
The party's deputy leader described the treatment of Sinn Féin members by the US authorities as "almost off the wall".
Mr Adams has said that while he accepts the apology offered by the Secret Service for his detention in the White House, he does not accept their explanation that it was due to an administrative error.
He now plans to write to the White House to complain, while Ms McDonald said she will meet US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O'Malley.
"We represent absolutely no threat to anybody and I think they know that," she said.
Ms McDonald said her party was being treated unfairly year after year but the White House incident had brought the situation "to a head".
"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.
Asked if a meeting with Ms McDonald had been scheduled a spokesperson for the US Embassy told the Irish Independent: "The Ambassador is currently travelling but he meets regularly with leaders across the political spectrum."