Source Pravda.Ru

Sinn Fein leader calls off trip to New York over ban on raising funds

Gerry Adams, leader of the Irish Republican Army-allied Sinn Fein party, on Monday called off a trip to New York after the U.S. government refused to lift restrictions barring him from raising money there.

Adams accused the U.S. administration of an amateurish attempt to change his party's policy on policing the province.

Sinn Fein refuses to take part in the political structures associated with policing in Northern Ireland until the British government hands its policing powers to a Northern Ireland administration.

Adams had been granted a visa allowing him to travel to the United States on Tuesday to receive a peace award. But the State Department refused a request for him to speak at a US$500-a-plate dinner benefiting his party's U.S. organization, Friends of Sinn Fein. Adams said he would speak at a similar dinner in Canada on Saturday.

Senior members of Sinn Fein have been prevented from raising funds in the U.S. since March because of allegations that IRA members carried out a 26.5 million pound (US$46.3 million; -39.2 million) robbery on the Northern Bank in Belfast in December.

The IRA announced an end to its armed campaign in July, and an international panel said the group disposed of its entire arsenal in September. But U.S. administration sources say they want the party to adopt a more positive approach to policing.

The police force in Northern Ireland has been traditionally a mainly Protestant institution, and the backing of Sinn Fein and its Catholic supporters is considered crucial to future stability, AP reported. V.A.

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