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July 07, 2006

Congressman Peter King Snubs Sinn Fein

Leading US politician King snubs Sinn Fein

Party denies there's a rift as immigration row rages on

By Sean O'Driscoll
07 July 2006

Congressman and former Irish Republican activist Peter King has
turned down a meeting with Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty after the
party attempted to assure over a thousand Irish immigration
activists that the meeting would take place.

The party has been struggling to bridge a huge rift between its
most loyal Washington ally and many of his Irish supporters who
are bitterly opposed to a hardline anti-illegal immigration bill
he sponsored in the House of Representatives.

At a mass Irish immigration rally in Washington last week Sinn
Fein TD Sean Crowe rushed to defend Congressman King after he was
attacked by immigration activists for refusing to meet Irish
immigrants and a Dail group campaigning for immigration reform.

Crowe told the crowd that he had a mix-up in timing with Mr King
that day and that was the only reason he had not met him.

He said Pat Doherty would be meeting Mr King the following day.

However, Mr King's spokesman, Kevin Fogarty, said this week that
he did not meet Mr Doherty during his US trip and no meeting was

Mr Crowe had intervened after the chairman of the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform, Niall O'Dowd, told over 1,000 supporters that
ILIR supporters had meetings with 87 members of congress earlier
on Wednesday and only Peter King had refused to meet them.

Moments later, Crowe took the stage to announce that King had not
snubbed the group and that there had been some confusion about
the meeting.

Crowe said that he had arrived at King's office at 1pm that day
while King was expecting him at 12pm.

To huge cheers from the crowd, Crowe added: "But Pat Doherty is
coming here tomorrow, he's going to meet with Pete King and Pete
King will be getting a message from Sinn Fein tomorrow."

However, this week Mr Fogarty, said that the congressman did not
meet Mr Doherty last Thursday or at any time during his US trip.

SDLP MLA, PJ Bradley, who was at the Washington ILIR rally, said
that he believed Sinn Fein had been slow to embrace the Irish
immigration movement in the US because the party did not want to
alienate Congressman King.

His comments follow a long line of complaints against King by
Irish immigration activists, which includes some of his former
key Irish allies.

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