WASHINGTON - With his embrace of five bereaved Irish sisters and snubbing of one longtime political activist, President Bush is attempting to undermine the outlawed Irish Republican Army.
The five McCartney sisters, who lost their brother, Robert, to a knifing in a Belfast barroom brawl involving members of the IRA, were welcome guests Thursday at a green-tinged White House enveloped in the pomp of St. Patrick's Day.
But Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, the IRA's legal political wing, was welcome at neither the White House, where he has been a guest on previous St. Patrick Days, nor the Capitol suite of Irish American Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass, who also has been host to him in the past.
Not only has the White House pulled its welcome mat from Adams, but the administration also has told Sinn Fein that its fund-raising in the United States will no longer be acceptable.
By welcoming the McCartneys but rejecting Adams, Bush maintains he is sending a message that the United States honors "those in civil society in Ireland who are contributing positively to the peace process.” "It takes courage … to walk the path of peace,” Bush said.