As we learned last St Patrick’s Day in Washington, the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams still sets security alarm bells ringing in America despite his perceived role in the US as the architect of Irish peace process and the winding down of the IRA.
On that occasion security staff denied him entry to a reception hosted by President Barack Obama in the White House for so long that in exasperation he stalked angrily off, missing the opportunity to mix with Washington’s political elite.
How and why that happened was something of a mystery but now Gerry Adams himself has cast some revealing light on the matter.
An article in the web magazine, Journal.ie, about Gerry Adams’ reaction to the election of Donald Trump included a photograph, apparently supplied by the SF leader himself, of his Aer Lingus ticket for a journey to New York that he made this week. Adams has been invited to Queens in NYC to preside over the renaming of an alleyway after the 1916 Easter Rising.
The photograph (see below) shows the letters ‘SSSS’ circled and a comment below on Adams’ Twitter feed which reads: ‘The dreaded SSSS. RG (Adams’ term for his press aide and bag-carrier Richard McAuley) sez the Presidential election wudda sorted all that.’
So what does ‘SSSS’ stand for and what did Adams mean by saying the Presidential election ‘wudda sorted all that’?
Well ‘SSSS’ stands for Secondary Security Screening Selection (see below for fuller explanation) and it seems from Adams’ evident exasperation that a) this is a regular occurrence and b) he might have been hoping that a Hillary Clinton White House would finally remove this cross that he has had to bear.
It is hard not to conclude that Gerry Adams is still regarded by the US security apparatus as a person who poses some sort of threat and therefore should be regularly double checked on entry to the States.
We shall see on March 17th in Washington when, thanks to a phone call from Enda Kenny to Donald Trump this week, we know a St Patrick’s Day celebration will be held.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about ‘SSSS’: