"This is an unacceptable development" - Adams criticises White House security checks

The Sinn Féin leader left a White House event after being held up at security for 90 minutes

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Gerry Adams. Image: RollingNews.ie file photo

Gerry Adams has criticised security checks he faced at the White House last night.

The Sinn Féin President was held up for 90 minutes at the St Patrick's Day celebrations as security checked his passport.

He had received his invitation as normal to attend the exchange of the shamrock ceremony at the White House.

However, he decided not to wait any longer and left the event as the delay continued.

Deputy Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were both granted access and attended the White House celebrations.

In a statement deputy Adams called the controversy "an unacceptable development".

“After two decades of travelling back and forth to the USA and countless meetings in the White House with successive US Presidents, this is an unacceptable development," he argued.

“It is obvious that there remain some within the US administration who seek to treat Sinn Féin differently. Some of our political representatives have been denied access to the USA while others, including myself, have to regularly go through additional searches and scrutiny when we travel to and from the USA," he argued.

Deputy Adams says he, along with Deputy McDonald and Mr McGuinness, met with the Congressional Friends of Ireland this morning, who are said to share a 'grave disappointment' in the situation.

“Sinn Féin will not sit at the back of the bus for anyone. We are elected to represent citizens and we will do this. I am hopeful that the controversy around my White House invitation will help lead to a resolution of all these matters," Mr Adams concluded.