Gerry Adams to attend Obama inauguration
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is to attend the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday.
Mr Adams said his party was looking forward to working with the new president, who officially takes over during the lavish swearing-in ceremony in the US capital.
"President-elect Obama has already committed to continuing US support for the Irish peace process," Mr Adams said.
"The Obama administration will present many positive new opportunities and challenges."
A Sinn Fein spokesman said Mr Adams had been invited by Congressman Richard Neal, a vocal supporter of the peace process and personal friend of the leader.
The Ulster Unionist Party has dismissed Mr Adams' attendance at the event, saying it was not surprising given links between the Democratic Party and Sinn Féin.
A spokeswoman said: “Amongst the thousands of guests attending president-elect Obama’s inauguration, Gerry Adams will be a rather insignificant figure – and one from whom most other guests will keep their distance in view of Sinn Féin’s terrorist past in Northern Ireland and its ongoing support for international terrorist organisations such as Farc in Colombia, and Hamas and Hizbullah in the Middle East.”
The DUP has confirmed their party will not be represented at Mr Obama's inauguration.