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28 May 1998 Edition

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Sinn Fein visit to USA

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and SF Director of Publicity Rita O'Hare flew out of Dublin on Wednesday to begin a four day visit to the USA during which they will have a meeting at the White House and will brief US political leaders on the current situation and ``the need to put in place the mechanisms of change for all those issues contained in the Good Friday Agreement.''

Speaking before leaving on a flight to New York, Mr Adams said: ``I will be urging the United States to use its influence to persuade the British government to move speedily on the equality agenda and to ensure that decommissioning is not resurrected.

``There needs to be demilitarisation, political prisoners have to be released, a proper policing service created and all-Ireland structures put in place immediately following next month's elections.

``I will be spelling out that there can be no bar put on Sinn Fein's electorate. If Sinn Fein receives the required mandate there must be no impediments placed on our representatives taking positions in the Executive or on the Ministerial Council.

``People have voted for change. The mechanisms to implement that change must be put in place now''.

•Gerry Adams will be the featured speaker at a luncheon at the Annual General Meeting of the Irish Northern Aid Committee in Hartford, Connecticutt on Saturday 30 May.

Paul Doris, the national chairperson of INA, said he was happy to welcome Adams to the AGM.

``While we've had senior members of Sinn Fein at our AGMs before, this is the first time scheduling will permit Gerry to attend,'' said Doris. ``This visit comes at a critical time in Irish history. His presence at our AGM underscores the importance of the nearly 30-year relationship between Irish Northern Aid and the Republican Movement.''

Rich Lawlor, a Hartford attorney and vice-chairperson of INA, said a number of high profile people will be at the three-day event.

``Rita O'Hare, Sinn Fein's publicity director, will be the featured speaker at the dinner on Saturday evening and Bruce Morrison, chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board and a former US congressman, will attend along with Hartford Mayor Michael Peters,'' said Lawlor.

``While our main function is to raise funds for Irish Republican political prisoners and their families, we are also charged with the responsibility of educating the press and the public to what's really happening in British-occupied Ireland,'' said Lawlor. ``Rita O'Hare has been a central player in the move toward Irish independence for the past 28 years and she's well respected. Her insights will be invaluable,'' he added.

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