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Gerry Adams: 'I disagree with Congressman Peter King profoundly on many, many issues'

Criticism has been levelled at Sinn Féin over their connections to a congressman linked to the US travel ban.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams after meeting a delegation of American politicians, including Congressman Peter King (background) from New York during their one day visit to Northern Ireland in 1997.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams after meeting a delegation of American politicians, including Congressman Peter King (background) from New York during their one day visit to Northern Ireland in 1997.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

SINN FÉIN LEADER Gerry Adams has said he disagrees “profoundly” with some of the opinions of US Congressman Peter King, a long-time Sinn Féin supporter who has been identified as an architect of the travel ban in the United States.

Sinn Féin was criticised this week for its ties to the Republican congressman, who is believed to have been part of the team which came up with the plans for Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and people from certain countries from entering the US.

Peter King has been a vocal supporter of Sinn Féin in the past and in an interview in the 1990s with The Washington Post he said: ”Listen, I think I’m one of the people who brought about peace in Ireland.”

Asked about the connections between Sinn Féin and Donald Trump’s administration, Gerry Adams told TheJournal.ie that there are none.

“The only example our detractors can come up with is Peter King. Peter King supported the hunger strikers when the politicians here didn’t. Peter King supports Irish unity,” said Adams.

“I disagree with Peter King profoundly on many, many other issues. I remember an event I was at in New York and a woman said to him in my presence, ‘Peter, how come you are wrong on every issue, but Ireland’”.

Following on from Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s remarks on Trump this week, the Sinn Féin leader said he does not agree with President Trump’s recent actions on immigration and refugees.

I profoundly object to what the president has been saying and what he has been doing, but I also profoundly objected to what President Bush did and to what President Obama did.

Adams has met and shook hands with Donald Trump in the past, when the pair greeted each other at this 1995 fundraising dinner in New York. It was a big event for Adams, who had been barred from entering the US until January 1994 when then-president Bill Clinton approved a 48-hour visa.

Adams said Irish-American links need to be nurtured at this time so as to support the 50,000 undocumented Irish living in the US.

“Our input into the USA is across the bridge of Irish-America. It is about the cause, the peace process, it’s about the Good Friday Agreement. It is about ending the partition and bringing about Irish unity.

[It's] up to us ensure that the strength of Irish America is asserted as it was in the past – to mind the undocumented Irish, to push for the peace process to be supported… but it is the diaspora who will do that, and the good friends we have on Capitol Hill, the congressmen and senators who have stuck by Ireland through thick and thin.

Criticism

The criticism had been levelled at Adams by Fianna Fáil in the last week over his possible connections to both King and Trump.

Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins had asked Sinn Féin to clarify whether the party has received donations from either Congressman King or President Trump in the past.

The BBC reports that former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani identified Congressman King in a TV interview as one of the members of a commission which designed the immigration ban. Newsday reports that a representative for the congressman said King supported President Donald Trump’s executive order curbing the entry of refugees and legal immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, but said he played no role in helping craft the policy.

Read the full interview with the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams this Sunday morning on TheJournal.ie. 

Read: Mary Lou on Trump: ‘I deplore and detest that politics. It makes my skin crawl’>

Read: Gerry Adams says Stormont collapse is not a threat to the peace process>

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