Sinn Féin challenged over links to US travel ban supporters

New York Congressman Peter King and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Peter King (left) said Rudy Giuliani (right) was mistaken when he claimed he was on a commission that designed the ban, but did confirm he supported the measure

The Irish opposition party Fianna Fáil has challenged Sinn Féin to spell out its contacts with US supporters of President Trump's immigration ban.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has condemned the temporary ban on migrants from seven Muslim majority countries.

However, Fianna Fáil's Niall Collins argued Congressman Peter King, who is a strong supporter of the travel ban, was "a close personal ally" of Mr Adams.

He added Mr King had been a "major fundraiser" for Sinn Féin for 30 years.

'Legitimate force'

In an interview for Fox News, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani identified Congressman King as a fellow member of a commission which designed the immigration ban.

Mr Giuliani said the commission framed the ban in terms of countries which presented a danger to the USA, rather than a measure based on religion.

Since then Congressman King has claimed that Mr Giuliani was mistaken and that he was not on the commission which advised President Trump.

However, the New York congressman said he does support the immigration ban, which Mr Adams has described as "arbitrary" and "counterproductive".

In December, Congressman King suggested the Trump administration should consider a Federal Muslim surveillance programme.

Since the 1980s, Congressman King was a vocal supporter of both Sinn Féin and the IRA, which he used to describe as a "legitimate force".

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks on his home city in 2001, Congressman King became an advocate of uncompromising counter-terrorist policies and often spoke about his fears that Muslims within the USA might become radicalised.

He has rejected allegations of double standards, maintaining that by the 1990s he was "one of the people who brought about peace in Ireland."

Questioned about Congressman King's views, Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd told the BBC the party agreed with him that Ireland should be an independent state "but we disagree on this issue and other issues".

Mr Giuliani also has links to Northern Ireland's Troubles, but they are more legal than political.

In the 1980s he was the US Attorney General in charge of efforts to extradite a high-profile IRA prison escapee, Joe Doherty, from New York back to Belfast.

Joe Doherty spent nine years in jail in the USA before his extradition in 1992 - he was later freed under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Fianna Fáil has asked Sinn Féin to clarify whether they have received donations from Congressman King or President Trump.

As a leading New York businessman, Donald Trump attended a Sinn Féin fundraising dinner in the city in March 1995, the year before the Provisional IRA ended its ceasefire with a major bombing in London's Docklands.

Mr O'Dowd told the BBC it was his understanding that Mr Trump has never contributed to the party.

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