Adams arrest discussed at Washington briefing

Thursday 29 May 2014 22.13
Mr Adams was in Washington to brief officials on the failure to reach agreement on the Haass proposals
Mr Adams was in Washington to brief officials on the failure to reach agreement on the Haass proposals

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said his recent arrest was discussed when he met with politicians and officials in Washington to brief them about the failure so far to reach agreement on the Haass proposals.

Mr Adams called on the US to put pressure on the British government whose involvement he said had been "negative" so far.

He said wasn't engaging in a "blame game" and that he wouldn't "cross the Atlantic to blame the British Government", because he could "sit in a pub at home and sing a song about it".

He said his recent arrest by the PSNI had come up during the discussions, but that he would let others give their views on it.

Congressman Richie Neal said he questioned the timing of the arrest and described it as "staged effort" by the PSNI which was "ill-timed and ill-considered".

He said for him "a key consideration" was that Mr Adams had volunteered to be arrested.

Congressman Peter King said the arrest was contrived and had "hurt" the perception of unionists and the British Government in the United States.

He said he wanted the US Government and the British Government to realise that the peace process needed "some support right now".

Congressman Joe Crowley said he wanted to see the US Government more involved in the peace process and the first way to do that was to appoint an Ambassador to Ireland. 

He said the US needed to have its presence and engagement visible and not just existing in theory.

Earlier, Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore and Northern Secretary Therese Villiers called on the political parties in Northern Ireland to resove the issues of flags, parades and the past within the next six weeks.

Speaking after meeting in Dublin the pair welcomed plans for the parties to meet on Monday and said they will meet again within the next two weeks to discuss progress.