By Patrick Markey
A convicted IRA bomber and former hunger-striker has been refused a visa to enter the United States to attend a fund-raising dinner for a dissident U.S.-based organization opposed to the Good Friday agreement.
Marion Price, who was jailed during the 1970s for a series of bombing attacks in London, was denied a visa waiver on Thursday morning because of her criminal record, according to the U.S.-based Irish Freedom Committee and Republican Sinn Fein.
Visitors to the U.S. who have criminal records have to apply for a waiver to enter the country. Price had previously been allowed a visa waiver on a 1993 tourism visit to the United States.
"The circumstances of this denial and the fact that I obtained a waiver visa to travel to the U.S. several years ago proves this action had been taken because of my opposition to the Stormont Agreement," Price said in a Republican Sinn Fein statement.
Contacted at her home in Northern Ireland, Price said in an interview at the U.S. consulate in Belfast officials had made it clear that her opposition to the Good Friday agreement would sway their decision.
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A spokesman for the U.S. State Department’s consular affairs would not comment on the case.
Price had been scheduled to speak at a January dinner for the Irish Freedom Committee, an Irish-American group that opposes the Good Friday agreement and offers itself as the alternative to Sinn Fein. The dissident group Republican Sinn Fein is aligned to the Continuity IRA, which is one of the few paramilitary groups not to have declared a cease-fire.