Loyalist quartet apply for US visas
Four leading loyalists are expected to be granted visas by the US State Department to attend a series of events in Washington and New York.
The quartet, with links to the UDA, have applied for permission to travel. Among them is UDA leader Jackie McDonald.
They have developed a working relationship with Senator Martin McAleese, the husband of Irish President Mary McAleese.
The Republic's Department of Foreign Affairs has been consulted about the visas.
Among the politicians expected to meet them are Congressmen Peter King and Richie Neal, two leading Irish Americans, who often talked to the likes of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and former SDLP leader John Hume in the past.
The four loyalists are part of a group that has been involved in dialogue with Senator McAleese.
They were among the guests at Islandbridge, Dublin, during the State visit by the Queen to Ireland in May.