Tuesday 21 November 2017

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

Gerry Adams. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Gerry Adams. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

THE US Secret Service has said it "regrets" the controversy surrounding Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams's attendance at a St Patrick's Day event in the White House hosted by President Barack Obama.

Mr Adams was forced to undergo a security check which lasted up to 90 minutes before leaving the event in Washington.

After the he was refused entry to the Shamrock Ceremony, Mr Adams launch a blistering attack on the US government claiming it treats Sinn Féin "differently" to other political parties.

In a hard hitting statement, he also insisted Sinn Féin will "not sit at the back of the bus for anyone" in reference to US civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks.

Tonight, the US Secret Service released a statement saying the delay in processing Mr Adams was due to the an "administrative input error".

"The Secret Service would like to express our regret that the issue involving Mr. Gerry Adams’ entry into the St. Patrick’s Day reception could not be resolved in a more timely manner.  Unfortunately, an administrative input error received by the Secret Service was not able to be rectified promptly," it said.

Tonight, Mr Adams defended his reference to Rosa Parks sitting at the back of the bus.

"I mean I was invited to the place. I was there at least 30 times in the last 20 years at different events and for talks and meetings as well as for these more ceremonial celebrations of St. Patrick's Day. So ah you know we aren't going to sit at the back of the bus," he said.

He also said Sinn Fein representatives are on "a list of some sort" which means they are subjected to tighter security checks.

He said younger Sinn Fein members who were not involved in the Troubles also undergo "extra security" when travelling to the US.

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