AS reported on the UTV website, “Gerry Adams has scrapped plans to raise funds during a visit to the US next week”, or, as the SF press release puts it, “Sinn FÃ©in President Gerry Adams will travel to the United States on March 12th for a series of speaking engagements and [political] meetings”. Both, however, carry the same line from a Sinn Fein spokesperson – “The political situation is much too grave for both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to be out of Ireland at the same time.”The Sinn FÃ©in press release also notes how concerned the party leadership was for the difficult decision that the US administration could face –
“Initially many of the planned events were to be fundraisers. However, the party leadership was concerned that there was a likelihood that fundraising would become a contentious issue for the U.S. government, and a distraction therefore from the necessary work of rebuilding the peace process. The party leadership decided that no fundraising will be done at this time”
As this report in the Irish Times, on Monday 28th Feb, indicated, it does answer one question –
Though the doors of the White House will be closed to Sinn FÃ©in leaders this St Patrick’s Day for the first time in 10 years, the party’s top leaders will be arriving in the United States next week for the usual rallies with supporters.
The question of whether Sinn FÃ©in will apply to raise funds during their hectic round of St Patrick’s Day events, as in previous years, is however in doubt..[emphasis mine]
As the IT report makes clear, it was never going to be a simply case of turning up and passing a hat round –
Sinn FÃ©in representatives have to apply for visas each time they intend to raise funds in the US, and authorisation is given on a case-by-case basis.
Needless to say(but I will), not applying for a visa for a fundraising tour conveniently avoids the possibility of a refusal.. discretion is, indeed, the better part of valour.
Some other details to note, although the Irish Times reported that advertisements had already appeared with details of Martin McGuinness’ trip, with stops in Seattle, San Diego and Phoenix in the US and Calgary in Canada, Gerry Adams’ itinery does not appear to include these events.. nor mention them at all.
And the same Irish Times report states that Alex Maskey is to travel to Boston. However the SF press release doesn’t indicate whether the political situation is so grave that he will have to stay in Belfast.