Is Hillary Clinton the Catalyst of Northern Ireland's Peace Process?
The peace process in North Ireland has been the main point that Democratic co-frontrunner Senator Hillary Clinton of New York has cited in regards to experience in foreign policy. During her time as US First Lady during the administration of her husband, then-US President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton had made numerous trips to North Ireland. Clinton says that she still keeps contact with the leaders of Northern Ireland.
However, the role that Clinton has played as US First Lady has come under scrutiny and question. One example is a Belfast park that is empty. Clinton’s critics said that in the past, she would christen it as the first Catholic-Protestant playground of Northern Ireland as a symbol of peace.
But, the critics point out that nothing has happened as the park remains empty.
“She was in charge of christening this wee corner (of the park) as some kind of peace playground. It never made any sense then, and there’s nothing here today,” explains Brian Feeney, who is a Belfast political analyst. Feeney is also a teacher and an author.
Observers cite this as one example of the lack of accomplishments made by Clinton’s visits to Northern Ireland. They said that while Clinton had made many speeches, she has not really left any lasting marks.
Still, Clinton and aides insist that she played an instrumental role in Northern Ireland’s peace process.
She had given a speech at the University of Ulster back in 1997, to inaugurate the late Joyce McCartan, a known peace activist known throughout Northern Ireland. After 2000, there were no more speeches made. This also brings into question if Hillary Clinton was really the catalyst to Northern Ireland’s peace process as she claims she was.
The Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition formed in 1996 inspired by Clinton’s words became defunct 10 years later. Every candidate of the group has lost two straight elections. This brings up further criticism and scrutiny towards Clinton’s role in the Northern Ireland peace process.
There are many that say that Hillary Clinton did not play as a big a role as she claims.
However, there are those that do not criticize Clinton at all. In fact, they would like to see Hillary Clinton as US President. They feel that with her as US President, Northern Ireland can return to the pro-Irish policies that were in vigor under the Bill Clinton administration.
Still, nothing is concrete. There are high-profile individuals on one side that say that Clinton didn’t do much. There are those on the other side that say that Clinton did play a very important role.
Still, the question of Hillary Clinton’s role could be used as ammunition by Democratic co-frontrunner Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Should Clinton become the Democratic nominee, this could be ammunition by GOP nominee Senator John McCain of Arizona as well.
Tags: Northern Ireland , Obama , McCain , Clinton
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