Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has arrived in the United States for a week of engagements with supporters.
Speaking before his departure, Mr. Adams said “My message in the United States next week will be very clear - I will be asking those who have supported the peace process and Sinn Féin’s role in it, to continue that support so that the task of re-building the peace process can begin.”
Mr Adams MP is carrying out engagements in Adams will be in Washington DC, New York and Ohio.
He added: “For more than a decade now Irish America has played a valuable role in the peace process. When opponents of change were lined up against progress, they intervened in the interests of peace. Next week I will be asking them to do so again. I will be speaking directly to those who have supported the peace process and Sinn Féin’s role in it. I will be briefing them on the grave difficulties that the process faces at this time and also outlining the contribution that republicans are willing to make to get the process back on track.
“The peace process is the only way forward but we have to be realistic. The only aspect of the process, which currently exists is the IRA cessation. There are no political institutions, no dialogue, no plans to implement the outstanding aspects of the Agreement.
“If we are to move out of this deepening crisis, then the starting point has to be genuine dialogue between the parties and the two governments. That is the message that I will be bringing to the US next week.”
KENNEDY GETS IT WRONG
US Senator Ted Kennedy has said he will not meet Mr Adams this week. The Massachussetts senator, with a reputation as a ‘fair weather’ friend of Irish republicans, has said he declined to meet Mr Adams because of what he described as “the IRA murder of Robert McCartney and subsequent calls for vigilante justice”.
However, both the PSNI police and the McCartney family have accepted that the IRA were not responsible for death of Robert McCartney outside a Belfast bar in January.
The IRA has accepted that three of its Volunteers were involved in the bar-room fight which led to his death, and has expelled all three. It said no further punishment action was taken against the men, at the request of the McCartney family.
McCARTNEYS FOR WHITE HOUSE
But in an increasingly political campaign, it is understood the McCartney sisters and Robert McCartney’s partner, Bridgeen, will attend the White House to urge further public support for the police in their investgation of the incident.
The family expressed anger that a former Sinn Féin election candidate, Cora Groogan, who was in Magennis’s bar on the night he was murdered, made a statement via the Police Ombudsman and not to the police directly.
This appears to a hardening of the family’s position after it previously stated that it accepted the role of the Ombudsman as an intermediary for republicans, the majority of whom do not accept the legitimacy of the British Crown forces.
Robert’s sister Catherine McCartney said Sinn Féin had the wrong appraoch to democracy and justice.
“This is an accountable political party,” she said. “I think people are intelligent enough to figure out themselves whether this is the type of party they want running the country.”
It is understood Ms McCartney is to run against Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey on an anti-IRA, pro-PSNI platform in the Westminster elections in South Belfast. Other family members are also believed to be planning to enter the political arena for the May elections on the same basis.
The following is Mr Adams’s speaking engagements in the US.
Monday, March 14
07:45AM Council on Foreign Relations Breakfast - New York City
12:00PM Friends of Sinn Féin Luncheon - New York City
04:45PM Transport Workers Union Local 100 - NYC
07:30PM Friends of Sinn Féin Reception - New Jersey
Wednesday, March 16
06:30 PM America-Ireland Fund Dinner, Washington, DC
Thursday, March 17
08:00AM Friends of Sinn Féin Breakfast - Washington, DC
03:00 PM National Press Club - Washington, DC
05:30 PM Friends of Ireland/Ad Hoc Committee - Washington, DC
Friday, March 18
01:00PM John Carroll University - University Heights, Ohio
06:00PM Friends of Sinn Féin Reception - Mayfield Heights, Ohio