Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has been removed from a US government ‘terrorist watch list’ following a meeting between US politicians and transport officials.
Mr Adams was controversially delayed at Washington’s Dulles airport on St Patrick’s Day on his way to Buffalo in upstate New York, causing him to miss a meeting of supporters.
Hours earlier, he had been a guest of President George Bush in the White House.
Buffalo congressman Brian Higgins, a Democrat, and other lawmakers complained to Transportation Security Administration officials.
Higgins said that during a private meeting with TSA officials yesterday, they informed him Adams had been removed from the list.
The lawmaker said it remains unclear which federal agency had nominated Adams for placement on the list, but he is determined to find out.
Because he was interned by Britan in the early 1970s, Adams requires a special travel waiver when he travels to the US.
“There’s an agreement that in the event he travels in the future between domestic point A and B that he be given consideration, given the demands on his time and attention,” said Higgins.
The congressman is also pressing the agency to say what other Sinn Fein leaders are on the watch list to have them removed as well.
“This matter is not closed. I will persist until Sinn Fein staff, those who have become instrumental in the movement toward peace and the implementation of the Good Friday Accords, are removed as well,” Higgins said.
The House of Representatives adhoc committee on Irish affairs is also to work to remove the names of Sinn Fein staff from a “selectee” list of people who must undergo further inspection before flying.
A spokesman for Mr Adams said he understood the Sinn Fein leader’s name was removed from the watchlist and he should not experience any more problems travelling to and from and within the US.
“Obviously that is something we welcome and we appreciate the efforts of the politicians who have made this possible.”