When President Biden visited Ireland this week, he posed for a selfie with a divisive Irish nationalist who had been blacklisted from British broadcasts for his position as the public face of the Irish Republican Army.
Adams led Sinn Fein as its president from 1983 till 2018. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, when the IRA was at the height of its terrorist bombing campaign, Sinn Fein served as the political wing of the IRA to eliminate British sovereignty over Northern Ireland.
Adams has consistently disputed charges of involvement in the IRA’s terrorist activities. Adams was one of several Irish Republican politicians who were blacklisted by the Thatcher government from British airwaves.
To terminate the terror campaign for good, Adams was instrumental in breaking Sinn Fein away from the IRA and securing the Good Friday deal. He was finally apprehended in 2014 on suspicion of a 1972 murder for which he was never formally charged.
Adams is an old friend of Biden’s. Biden was apparently among a group of senators that infuriated the Brits in the 1990s by publicly campaigning for Adams to be let into the United States, and the two have appeared in photos together before.
In 1994, Biden advocated for Adams to be granted a visa so that he could participate in the continuing peace process. But, the idea was met with wrath by Prime Minister John Major’s cabinet, who did not want Adams to gain status and credibility.
During his time in Ireland, Biden faced new allegations of anti-British sentiment from his opposition to repatriating IRA terror suspects to Britain for trial.
Amanda Sloat, a Senior Director for ENSC (Europe at the National Security Council), noted that throughout his political career as a senator, Biden has supported peace in Northern Ireland.