Hillary Clinton Visits Ireland and Northern Ireland

Enda Kenny and Hillary Clinton in Dublin on December 6. Photo: Fine Gael
Enda Kenny and Hillary Clinton in Dublin on December 6. Photo: Fine Gael

February / March 2013

Clinton included the Emerald Isle in her final visits as Secretary of State.

As part of one of her last international trips as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton spent two days in Ireland at the beginning of December. Following visits to Prague and Brussels, Clinton landed in Dublin on December 6.

While in the Irish capital, she participated in the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, delivering a key speech on U.S. support of human rights action, visited the Áras for a brief meeting with President Michael D. Higgins, spoke with students at Dublin City University, and gave a joint press conference with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

At the American Embassy in Dublin, Clinton professed that she was “proud to be here in Ireland, representing our country and following the footsteps of President Obama’s incredibly successful trip [in 2011].”

With the Taoiseach, she spoke to America’s appreciation for the difficult times Ireland faces economically. “The view from the United States is the resilience, the hard work, the determination of the Irish people getting up every day and getting the job done,” she said, and reaffirmed the U.S.’s confidence in its economic partnership with Ireland, highlighting the significant fact that U.S. foreign investment in Ireland tops $191 billion, more than American companies have invested in Brazil, Russia, India, and China combined.

The following day Clinton departed for Belfast, where she addressed Stormont, visited the new Titanic Quarter, and attended a lunch by the Worldwide Ireland Funds, who honored her with a lifetime achievement award. Northern Ireland and Belfast in particular have long held a special place in the Secretary of State’s heart since she visited the city in December of 1995, one year after the 1994 ceasefire. Her husband, then president, was the first U.S. commander in chief to set foot in Northern Ireland.

At the Funds lunch, Clinton recalled that visit – one of the seminal steps in the peace process the U.S. would help broker. “We stood behind a bulletproof screen to turn on Belfast’s Christmas lights in front of a vast crowd that stretched so far I could not even find the end of it in any direction,” she said.  “It was a moment of such hope.  And it has been that image that has kept me going through any challenges that have come across my mind when I think about what lies ahead.”

At Stormont, standing with First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Clinton expressed her dismay at the recent spate of violent protests in Belfast over the decision to fly the Union flag over city hall only on special days. “There will always be disagreements in any democratic society,” she said, “but you must not use violence as a means of expressing those strong feelings.  The only path forward is a peaceful, democratic one that recognizes the right of others to express their opinions, but not to resort to violence. And there can be no place in the new Northern Ireland for any violence.”

In her address at the Funds luncheon, Clinton pledged that she would continue to support and work with the group in Northern Ireland once she is a private citizen again. Her term as Secretary of State ends with the conclusion of President Obama’s first term in office. With Clinton back in good health after a blood clot scare at the end of December, Northern Ireland will surely be taking her up on that offer.

One Response to “Hillary Clinton Visits Ireland and Northern Ireland”

  1. Garret says:

    This piece is ridiculously entitled “Hilary Clinton Visits Ireland and Northern Ireland”. How did this fallacious description get through the editorial net? Ireland encompasses both the Republic of Ireland and “Northern” Ireland as any good atlas will tell you. Ireland does not end at Co Louth, Monaghan or Sligo. The country know as Ireland was cruelly partitioned by a foreign power in 1922 and we have been living with the effects of that ever since.

Leave a Reply




Share



More Articles

Ciaran Murray Announces New ICON Innovation Hub earlier this year.  (Picture by Shane O'Neill / Copyright Fennell Photography 2015.)
Ireland’s Action Plan for Jobs
Brings Results

In his April 28th Spring Economic Statement speech, Finance Minister Michael Noonan T.D. announced that Ireland...

More

A closeup of the mural on George Street in Dublin.
Dublin Mural to Gay Marriage

A touchingly brave four-story mural of two men embracing was recently plastered on the side of a Dublin building on...

More

Portrait of Michael Longley (b.1939), Poet, Editor and Anthologist, 2011-12  © Colin Davidson (b.1968)
Michael Longley Given
Freedom of the City in Belfast

Michael Longley, poet, educator, and promoter of the arts, received the highest honor that one can receive from the...

More

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate opened in Dorchester, Mass. (Photo: Bruce T. Martin)
Edward M. Kennedy Institute
Opens in Boston

A new institute honoring the life and legacy of Senator Ted Kennedy opened in Boston with a historic ceremony featuring...

More