Gerry Adams hits out after being refused entry to White House reception
SINN Féin leader Gerry Adams has hit out after he was dramatically refused entry to a St Patrick's reception at the White House.
The party president left frustrated on Tuesday night after waiting in vain for around 90 minutes to join Barack Obama's annual celebration for Irish America.
Mr Adams, who is a regular visitor to Washington and the White House, said he was told "there was an issue of security".
He revealed he has also faced extra searches when travelling to the US and said Sinn Fein "will not sit at the back of the bus for anyone".
The US Secret Service later said it regretted the delay that saw Mr Adams eventually leave without attending the event.
Leading figures in the US Congress promised an immediate investigation.
Mr Adams said he had accepted his usual invitation to the St Patrick’s Day celebrations but on arrival was told by staff of a security issue.
"After two decades of travelling back and forth to the USA and countless meetings in the White House with successive US Presidents, this is an unacceptable development," he said.
"It is obvious that there remain some within the US administration who seek to treat Sinn Féin differently."
The Louth TD was reportedly pulled aside from other Sinn Féin figures as he arrived at the White House alongside party vice-president Mary Lou McDonald.
He said some party representatives have also been denied access to the US and he regularly goes through additional searches and scrutiny when travelling.
Mr Adams later described the episode as "bad manners" but said he had not been left embarrassed: "I just deal with this in a non-personal way."
President Obama met both First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness on Tuesday where, among other topics, they discussed the death of prison officer Adrian Ismay.
Mr McGuinness said he told the president the north would "stand together" against Mr Ismay's attackers.
During a speaker's lunch on Capital Hill attended by the ministers, Mr Obama spoke about the Northern Ireland peace process as a potential example for the world.
Mr Adams was among the guests at the lunch, where he was photographed with Mr McGuinness and actor Richard Gere.
After attending an American Ireland Fund dinner in Washington on Thursday night, Mr McGuinness is expected to join the DUP leader in Silicon Valley on Friday for meetings with potential investors.