Washington has repeated its support for the peace process in Northern Ireland, as revellers on both sides of the Atlantic prepare to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
On Ireland’s national day, the country’s foreign minister met his American counterpart in Washington. Hillary Clinton joined Michael Martin in praising reactions to the recent murders of security personnel in Northern Ireland. She said: “I want to commend the entire leadership of Northern Ireland as well as the Irish and British governments for the constructive statements and their strong resolve in the face of this attack.” The leader of Northern Ireland’s republican Sinn Fein party was also in the US capital and will meet Clinton later today. Gerry Adams said the attacks targeted the peace process itself, adding “we got where we are in Ireland through dialogue. When dialogue was shut down, when people were censored, when there was a ban on talking, then that gap was filled by violence. That’s not going to happen again; so let’s continue the dialogue. Let’s continue the outreach; let’s continue to make friends with our unionist neighbours.” In American cities with large Irish immigrant populations, such as Chicago and Boston, St. Patrick’s Day parades attract large and enthusiastic crowds. Gerry Adams has drawn on support from within the Irish lobby in the US to promote the cause of Irish unity and an end to partition.