Gerry Adams to travel to Washington for 48-hour visit

Trip will be Sinn Féin leader’s first to US since arrest as part of McConville investigation

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams is to travel to the US to  brief political leaders and at the State Department on ‘the current concerns about the peace process’. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams is to travel to the US to brief political leaders and at the State Department on ‘the current concerns about the peace process’. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Mon, May 19, 2014, 20:43

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams will travel to Washington later this month for his first visit to the US since his arrest by police investigating the 1972 murder of Jean McConville.

Mr Adams, who has denied any involvement in the abduction and killing of the widowed Belfast mother of 10, will brief political leaders in the US and at the State Department on “the current concerns about the peace process,” Sinn Féin said in a press release announcing his 48-hour visit starting on May 28th.

The Sinn Féin leader said the peace process was “facing some turbulence” at this time, blaming the British government for failing to deal with the outstanding issues of the Belfast Agreement.

He cited London’s refusal to sign up to the compromises proposed by former US diplomat Richard Haass on issues of the past and the British government’s “wooing” of the DUP at Westminster as a possible ally in the event of a hung parliament next year for problems in the peace process.

“The peace process cannot be allowed to meander,” said Mr Adams. “The road has too many pitfalls. There are too many powerful elements on the fringes of nationalism, within unionism and the British system who want to derail the process and build obstacles to it.”

The Co Louth TD said that on his trip to Washington he would seek “renewed focus and support” for the peace process and the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

There was widespread coverage in the US media of Mr Adams’s detention for four days of questioning earlier this month with Irish-American congressmen Peter King, a Republican from New York, and Richard Neal, a Democrat from Massachusetts, querying its timing ahead of elections in Ireland.

The US is fertile fundraising ground for Sinn Féin; the party’s US wing, Friends of Sinn Féin has raised more than $10 million (€7.2 million) over the past nine years from American donors.

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