Sinn Fein Leader on Sen. Kennedy's Out List

For the first time since Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, Sen. Edward Kennedy (search) is refusing to meet with Sinn Fein (search) leader Gerry Adams (search) on St. Patrick's Day.

Adams, head of the political party affiliated with the Irish Republican Army, came to the United States this weekend to seek support from Irish-American activists amid outrage over recent IRA (search) activities.

But although Kennedy has met with Adams every St. Patrick's Day (search) since the Good Friday peace pact (search) seven years ago, the Irish-American senator informed Adams there won't be a meeting this year, according to Kennedy spokeswoman Melissa Wagoner.

In a statement, Wagoner cited "the IRA's ongoing criminal activity and contempt for the rule of law" as the reason for Kennedy's decision.

Sinn Fein is reeling from accusations that the IRA mounted the world's largest bank robbery, stealing $50 million from a Belfast bank on Dec. 20, and was responsible for killing a Catholic civilian outside a Belfast pub on Jan. 30.

"Sinn Fein cannot be a fully democratic party with the IRA albatross around its neck," she said. "The time for decisive and final action is long overdue."

The Bush administration also didn't invite Adams to the White House on St. Patrick's Day for the first time since 1995.

Adams, a reputed IRA commander since the mid-1970s, was banned from visiting the United States until 1994, when President Clinton overturned the State Department policy to encourage an IRA cease-fire.