Report: Clinton Upholds Visa Bar for IRA Supporter
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) _ President Clinton opposed a U.S. visa for a prominent IRA supporter, downplaying the man’s recent work on behalf of peace in Northern Ireland, according to a letter published today in The Irish Times.
In a letter dated Oct. 30, Clinton rejected an appeal from Mayor David Dinkins of New York to let Gerry Adams, president of the Sinn Fein political party, visit the United States.
There was no immediate comment on the report from Washington.
Although Sinn Fein supports the Irish Republican Army’s violent campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland, Adams insists the party is not identical with the so-called Provisional IRA.
Adams recently has been involved in talks with John Hume, the most prominent Catholic political leader in Northern Ireland, in a process both men say could lead to peace. They have not disclosed details of their proposal.
The British and Irish governments rebuffed the Hume-Adams initiative following an Oct. 23 IRA bombing in Belfast that killed nine civilians and one IRA man.
Clinton’s letter said Adams has applied several times for a U.S. visa and was always rejected because of terrorist connections.
The Irish Times quoted the president as saying: ″Credible evidence exists that Adams remains involved at the highest level in devising PIRA strategy. Moreover, despite his recent talks with Social Democratic and Labor Party leader John Hume, Adams still has not publicly renounced terrorism.″
The Irish Times said an ad hoc Congressional committee on Irish affairs met Nov. 4 with Clinton’s national security adviser, Anthony Lake, to appeal for a visa for Adams.