I see that Long Island Congressman Peter King has today announced his retirement from politics and the House of Representatives’ seat he held for Republicans (the American variety) for the best part of two decades.
Unlike most Irish-American aficionados of the Provos, Peter King did not come to the IRA via friends of Gerry Adams but via the family of Bobby Sands and from them to the IRA in south Armagh, where he became a pal to some of the most senior figures in the organisation. He knew the IRA long before he knew Sinn Fein.
Perhaps one day, that story can be told in full. But not yet.
It was only later that he was plugged into Adams & co. All of which made him an unusually interesting character and worth profiling.
Nearly fifteen years ago I wrote the following profile of a politician who was the Provisional IRA’s closest – and arguably most unlikely – American friends for The New York Sun, one of the city’s oldest newspapers. You can read what I wrote here: Rep. King and the IRA_ The End of an Extraordinary Affair copy