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Amid crisis, Adams cuts back U.S. visit

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has scrubbed most of a planned U.S. and Canadian tour later this month in anticipation of turbulent days ahead for the troubled Northern Ireland peace process.

Adams was due to begin a fund-raising and lecture tour on Oct. 17 in Canada with scheduled stops in Toronto and Ottawa.

His North American visit will now be confined to one event, in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Other events in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and one of two planned for New York, have been postponed, possibly for rescheduling sometime in November.

Adams was due to deliver an address at Boston College on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

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This would likely have been a high point of the tour, as the college has been embroiled in some controversy in recent years over its honoring of both former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble.

According to Larry Downes, president of the New York-based Friends of Sinn Féin, Adams will still attend a fund-raising dinner in New York organized by FOSF for the 20th.

The event will be held at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Manhattan. Adams is expected to arrive in New York that afternoon and return to Belfast the following evening.

The curtailing of most of the Adams visit follows private communications to party leaders and public warnings from former Sen. George Mitchell, who is leading the review of the stalled Good Friday agreement.

Mitchell has told the leaders, Adams included, that the next couple of weeks will be crucial for the prospects of any lasting settlement in the North.

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