Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sinn Fein Allowed to Fundraise in America Again

The Art World Holds Its Breath for the Stolen Vermeer to surface, as Washington allows Adams to fundraise for Sinn Féin in America.

Sinn Féin
leader Gerry Adams has been given permission by the US administration to fundraise for the party in New York this week. This follows Washington's decision not to repeat last year's ban, writes Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent.

Mr Adams will leave for New York on Wednesday for a $500-a-head dinner in Manhattan hosted by the Friends of Sinn Féin, which is the party's biggest fundraiser in the US.

Last year Mr Adams was forced to address the audience by a live satellite link from Dublin following Washington's irritation at Sinn Féin's refusal to make positive soundings about the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

The disclosure came as a Sinn Féin ardchomhairle meeting in a Dublin airport hotel offered a qualified "yes" to the timetable outlined in the St Andrews proposals last month by the Irish and British governments.

The decision can be seen as gentle pressure from the Bush administration on Mr Adams to ensure that Sinn Féin signs up for the re-establishment of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly in March.

The decision was taken by the US State Department on foot of a recommendation from President Bush's Northern Ireland envoy, Mitchell Reiss, although the Bush administration said nothing officially on the matter yesterday.

However, Sinn Féin's refusal to hold an ardfheis on policing until a date is given for the transfer of powers over policing and justice from London to Stormont remains resolute.

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness is to meet in Dublin this morning with Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of the Taoiseach officials in a bid to break the logjam.

On Saturday Taoiseach Bertie Ahern attempted to play down the scale of the problem caused by the issue. However, one senior Sinn Féin figure told The Irish Times: "He knows how serious this issue is. He has been told."

Last month the two governments set next Friday, November 10th, as the date by which all of the parties, but particularly Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), had to offer their initial reactions to the St Andrews package.

Although he insisted that an agreement with the DUP on the devolution of justice and policing was the central issue for Sinn Féin, Mr Adams offered some room for manoeuvre: "This issue does not have to be resolved before November 10th."

Last night a British government official said they were now equally confident that the DUP would offer an equally conditional "yes" to the timetable offered by the governments.

Although official circles in Dublin and London are remaining confident that progress can be achieved, it is far from clear how both parties can find room to move.

Sinn Féin has refused a DUP demand that Mr McGuinness should be required to take a pledge of office, including a commitment to support the police, as Deputy First Minister on November 24th.
Still no news on Malachy McAllister, hope this is a good Omen and the Vermeer surfaces in the near future, if not Already!!!!

I sincerely hope the FBI, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum don't act like the Palestinians, who:
"Never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity"

© The Irish Times

1 comment:

Alistar Johnson said...

Such an interesting article, I've really enjoyed reading this. I've also recently discovered Tony Charalambides fundraising blog - you should check it out!