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29 January 1998 Edition

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Australian Labour support Adams visa bid

The Australian Labour Party has passed a resolution calling on the conservative government to allow West Belfast MP Gerry Adams to visit Australia. The call was made in recognition of the role that Adams and Sinn Fein have played in the search for a lasting settlement. The resolution also stressed the need for active international support for the talks process and the need for justice and international investment to promote economic and social advance in the Six Counties.

The resolution, passed at last week's annual national conference in Hobart comes as the result of continual lobbying from Australian Aid for Ireland (AIA) and some 50 Australian Labour MPs and senators who opposed the decision of Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock.

This important move comes against the backdrop of the ongoing legal battle to force the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to release the documents on which the decision to deny Adams a visa was based. Michael Morgan of AIA said, ``we believe that the actions of Prime Minister John Howard and his Foreign Affairs Minister Alex Downar are simply anti-republican and are made at the behest of the British government''.

Downar is the brother-in-law of Patrick O'Neill, son of Terence O'Neill, former Prime Minister of the Six Counties.

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