IRA “an albatross” – Ted Kennedy

US Senator Ted Kennedy, speaking after meeting with the McCartney family, a meeting that was also attended by Senator Hillary Clinton and former US presidential hopeful Senator John McCain, had this to say, as reported by the BBC

“No political party can also have an armed unit that continues violence and criminality.. We would certainly hope that the leadership of Sinn Fein… understands what an albatross the IRA is on them and for the cause of peace in Ireland.”

UpdatedCatherine McCartney’s earlier comments are also reported –

Earlier, Catherine McCartney said the family’s US visit was aimed at dispelling any “romantic vision” that Americans may have of the IRA’s “struggle”.

“We are now dealing with criminal gangs who are using the cloak of romanticism around the IRA to murder people on the streets and walk away from it,”

RTE also has a report on the meeting.

Senator Kennedy said the McCartney’s presence in Washington sends a very powerful signal that it is time for the IRA to fully decommission, end all criminal activity and cease to exist as a paramilitary organisation.

Senator Clinton said she was honoured to meet the family who she said had taken an extraordinary step towards finding justice.

Earlier, the US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, said his country would do everything it could to support the family.

Mitchell Reiss was speaking after a 40-minute meeting with the family. He said he stood with all Americans in his admiration for courage and determination of the McCartney family to get justice.

Update – Audio, and (jumpy)video, clip of the the news conference held after the meeting.(Click on the Video link, then on the “Senator fiercely criticises IRA” link in the bottom right hand corner of console for the full news conference clip – Real Player 7:30mins)

Worth noting are the comments by Senator John McCain – “we say to anyone who has any ideas that the McCartney family are not doing the right thing or [would] discourage them from doing so – Don’t”. (Sounds like a warning to me.. around 3 mins in)

The news conference clip includes the comments from Senators Dodds and Hilary Clinton as well as Catherine McCartney.

Also a news report(click on Video link), which includes a brief response from Gerry Adams to the Senators’ comments (Real Player 2:24mins)