President Clinton made a St. Patrick's Day appeal to Catholics and Protestants in British-controlled Northern Ireland, asking them to get rid of their weapons. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, visiting the White House along with Irish Prime Minister John Bruton tonight, insisted that the political wing of the Catholic Irish Republican Army lacks the authority to act on Clinton's request. Bruton disagreed. He told reporters that Adams "has tremendous influence" over the anti-British IRA. Bruton and Adams praised Clinton for opening the White House gates for Sinn Fein, a controversial move they hope will accelerate peace talks. TIME White House correspondent James Carney says Protestant politicians from Northern Ireland also were invited to the White House tonight. Although the reception is "purely ceremonial," Carney says Clinton is "trying to work his magic" with both sides in the same room together.