Clinton tells Northern Ireland to ‘finish the job’

Former US President Bill Clinton has called on Northern Ireland to finish the job started when the Good Friday Agreement was approved in 1997.

Bill Clintonj

Former US President Bill Clinton has called on Northern Ireland to finish the job started when the Good Friday Agreement was approved in 1997.

Clinton, who whilst in the White House took a close interest in in the peace process, was visiting yesterday primarily to pay tribute to the former SDLP Leader John Hume, who in 1998 won, along with David Trimble, the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his contribution to the peace process.

Amidst ongoing tensions over apparent assurances given to so called ‘on the runs’ that they would not be prosecuted for their terrorist crimes, Clinton had a blunt message for all those involved in addressing Northern Ireland’s past – ‘finish the job’.

Speaking in Guildhall Square in Derry, he expanded:

“There are still issues that remain unresolved after 19 years since the ceasefire and after 16 years since the Good Friday accord. How that is resolved is not for me to say; it is for you say.

“One of my fellow Americans, Richard Haass, did his best to start talks that would lead to a resolution. They haven’t yet. But the most important thing is that you finish the job that you free yourselves of the past so that you can embrace it and be proud of it and not be imprisoned by it.”

He continued  by declaring that “this town and John Hume’s insistence on non-violence and the embrace of it ultimately by the other parties, notably Sinn Féin” served as an inspiration to people around the world seeking peace.

Expressing his appreciation for Clinton’s visit and the work he put into supporting and encouraging the peace process, John Hume responded:

“I am deeply appreciative for all the work he has done to help Northern Ireland, in spite of all the difficulties during his time in the Oval Office. Bill Clinton had economic difficulties and international difficulties to deal with during his administration, yet he gave so much time to Northern Ireland and the peace process.

“Pat and I are delighted that Bill Clinton is here in Derry, a town and its people transformed by peace and which we are all so proud of.”

One Response to “Clinton tells Northern Ireland to ‘finish the job’”

  1. eireanne

    “One of my fellow Americans, Richard Haass, did his best to start talks that would lead to a resolution. They haven’t yet”.

    Nail on head. Who scuppered the talks? The Orange Order, which is heavily represented among Unionist MLAs even though its members are a tiny part of the overall population in NI.
    Eurofree3.wordpress.com has a series of posts exploring the Loyal orders and their harmful impact on NI society and politics.

    http://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/no-pope-here-never-ever-ever/

    Anywhere else such a sectarian organisation would be banned

    http://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/your-chance-to-win-a-painting-by-a-sectarian-serial-killer/

    The threat of violence and civil unreat from it it such that our SOS decided against this strategy, despite a call from the chairman of the Police federation to suspend their marches. if you read nothing else on the website do please have a look at http://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/catholic-ex-servicemen-dont-count/

    http://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/northern-ireland-how-much-do-your-obsessions-cost/
    Finally here’s a background to the history of their impact in NI
    http://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/hallmarks-of-orange-loyalism-then-1795-and-now-then-2013/

    There’s a lot more but the best thing any government (UK, USA or ROI) could do to move forward the peace process is to push the Loyal Orders (who are they anyway? they knight themselves in self-knighting ceremonies!!!) to voluntarily disband, as is suggested in another post.

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