27 May 2006

Former IRA member turned back at the border

CBC News

26 May 2006 23:38:11 EDT

A former member of the Irish Republican Army was sent back to Ireland this week while en route to Fort Augustus, P.E.I., for Irish heritage celebrations.

Pat Treanor, the mayor of County Monaghan in Ireland, had been to Canada twice in the past year. But when he flew into St. John's on Wednesday, border security officials asked him whether he had a record.

He told them he was convicted once — for being a member of the IRA. He was refused admittance to Canada and sent back home.

"I'm disappointed and I would like to be part of the celebrations on Prince Edward Island," he told CBC News in an interview from his hometown.

But he expects he'll get this travel problem straightened out. "I do believe it was just some kind of a cock-up at the airport, seeing that I got in twice before. I will be meeting with the Canadian ambassador and I'm fairly confident we'll resolve whatever difficulties there are there."

The IRA officially ended its armed struggle against British rule in July 2005.

Treanor said he was a member for a few years in the 1970s, but that he's never committed any crime. He remains a member of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing.

The Canada Border Services Agency won't talk about the case. But spokeswoman Jennifer Morrison said people can be turned away for a number of reasons, such as having a criminal record or belonging to a terrorist group.

Treanor was travelling with three other members of the Monaghan county council, who were able to continue on to Fort Augustus.

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