'We won't sit at the back of the bus' - Gerry Adams responds to being denied entry to Irish gathering at the White House
Published 16/03/2016 | 15:06
GERRY ADAMS has launched a blistering attack on the White House after he was refused entry to a St Patrick's Day event hosted by US President Barack Obama.
In a statement, Mr Adams said there were "some in the US administration" who want to treat Sinn Fein differently and said his party will not "sit at the back of the bus for anyone".
Mr Adams left the White House yesterday after he was delayed for 90 minutes for an additional security check on his arrival.
Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness did pass security and attended the event.
“I had received my usual invitation to attend the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the White House and was pleased to accept," Mr Adams said
"When I arrived the staff at the White House informed me that there was an issue of ‘security’. After two decades of travelling back and forth to the USA and countless meetings in the White House with successive US Presidents, this is an unacceptable development.
"It is obvious that there remain some within the US administration who seek to treat Sinn Fein differently.
"Some of our political representatives have been denied access to the USA while others, including myself, have to regularly go through additional searches and scrutiny when we travel to and from the USA.
"Last year the State Department initially refused to meet me as part of a transparent effort to pressurise Sinn Fein during negotiations at Stormont.
"That meeting did take place after protests from US political leaders. Efforts to pressurise us in the negotiations failed.
"This morning Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and I met with the Congressional Friends of Ireland. They too shared our grave disappointment at the White House situation and expressed their determination to have this issue resolved.
"Sinn Fein will not sit at the back of the bus for anyone. We are elected to represent citizens and we will do this. I am hopeful that the controversy around my White House invitation will help lead to a resolution of all these matters,"he added.