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Bush mulls Sinn Fein for St. Pat's party

Feb. 22, 2006 at 2:19 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The Bush administration could lift its ban on Sinn Fein attending the White House St. Patrick's Day party this year, The Times of London reports.

The newspaper said it had learned that Mitchell Reiss, President George Bush's special envoy to Northern Ireland, is "reluctantly" recommending that Sinn Fein be invited to the annual Shamrock ceremony at the White House on March 17.

Last year, Bush snubbed separatists Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness after the political group's armed Irish Provisional Army was linked to a near $50 million bank robbery and more violence in Northern Ireland.

Bush told both men their visits to the United States could in no way involve fundraising, although The Times said that stipulation would still apply this year.

The U.S. State Department said no final decision about the St Patrick's Day invitation list had been made.

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