Friday 18 August 2017

Sinn Féin accused of 'riding two horses' in White House dealings

Sinn Féin’s new northern leader Michelle O’Neill said she would not issue an invitation to Mr Trump. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Sinn Féin’s new northern leader Michelle O’Neill said she would not issue an invitation to Mr Trump. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Rebecca Black

Sinn Féin has been accused of "riding two horses" when it comes to the new US president, as Gerry Adams says he will go to the White House if invited, days after Michelle O'Neill said she would not invite Donald Trump to Northern Ireland.

It emerged last week that Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness had - alongside former first minister Arlene Foster - sent the new president an invitation to visit Northern Ireland.

But Sinn Féin's new northern leader MS O'Neill said she would not issue an invitation to Mr Trump if she was in that role.

"Since taking office, President Trump has pursued policies on immigration and the banning of refugees that runs counter to international standards and decency. If I was in the executive office at this time I wouldn't issue an invitation."

Just three days later Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams announced he would travel to the US for St Patrick's Day - and would attend the White House if he was invited.

"At this critical time in the Irish peace process it does not make sense for Irish leaders to exclude ourselves from an opportunity to engage on critical issues," he said.

Read more: 'A warm welcome' - Donald Trump invited to Northern Ireland by Foster and McGuinness

The SDLP's South Belfast Assembly election candidate Claire Hanna accused Sinn Féin of being a party that "routinely rides two horse simultaneously".

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said Taoiseach Enda Kenny should visit Mr Trump but not invite him to come to Ireland.

Mr Trump's executive order banning refugees "has flouted Geneva Convention commitments", Deputy McGrath said on RTÉ's 'Week In Politics' programme.

"Let's see how the visit in March goes. Nobody knows how that's going to go. I think the Taoiseach is right to go. The ties we have with the United States are deep rooted...so he has to go but I wouldn't be going with an invitation in the pocket for a return visit," he said.

Irish Independent

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