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White House Bars Irish Republican Leader From St. Patrick’s Day Reception

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When Gerry Adams, leader of Ireland’s Sinn Féin party, tried to attend the St. Patrick’s Day reception at the White House on Tuesday, he had to wait for 80 minutes for what were described as security reasons.

After watching other guests — including two other officials from his own party — enter the event to hear President Barack Obama speak, he left in anger, the Press Association reports. The Secret Service later apologized for the delay, according to the BBC.

“After two decades of traveling back and forth to the USA and countless meetings in the White House with successive US presidents, this is an unacceptable development,” Adams said. “It is obvious that there remain some within the U.S. administration who seek to treat Sinn Féin differently.”

Adams missed Obama’s remarks and an annual Shamrock Ceremony. After he expressed frustration and questioned the reason for his exclusion, the Secret Service said the hold-up was due to an internal error.

“Unfortunately, an administrative input error received by the Secret Service was not able to be rectified promptly,” the Secret Service said in a statement.

[Press Association]

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Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com