Skip to comments.Nobel winner: Hillary Clinton's 'silly' Irish peace claims
Posted on 03/08/2008 5:34:32 AM PST by COUNTrecount
Hillary Clinton had no direct role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and is a "wee bit silly" for exaggerating the part she played, according to Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former First Minister of the province.
Full coverage of the US Elections 2008 David Trimble: Hillary Clinton mere "cheerleader" in Ireland
Hillary Clinton with the Rev Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness after their meeting in Washington last year "I dont know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill [Clinton] going around," he said. Her recent statements about being deeply involved were merely "the sort of thing people put in their canvassing leaflets" during elections. "She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say it was part of her experience. I dont want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player."
Mrs Clinton has made Northern Ireland key to her claims of having extensive foreign policy experience, which helped her defeat Barack Obama in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday after she presented herself as being ready to tackle foreign policy crises at 3am.
"I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland," she told CNN on Wednesday. But negotiators from the parties that helped broker the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 told The Daily Telegraph that her role was peripheral and that she played no part in the gruelling political talks over the years.
Lord Trimble shared the Nobel Peace Prize with John Hume, leader of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party, in 1998. Conall McDevitt, an SDLP negotiator and aide to Mr Hume during the talks, said: "There would have been no contact with her either in person or on the phone. I was with Hume regularly during calls in the months leading up to the Good Friday Agreement when he was taking calls from the White House and they were invariably coming from the president."
advertisementCentral to Mrs Clintons claim of an important Northern Ireland role is a meeting she attended in Belfast in with a group of women from cross-community groups. "I actually went to Northern Ireland more than my husband did," she said in Nashua, New Hampshire on January 6th.
"I remember a meeting that I pulled together in Belfast, in the town hall there, bringing together for the first time Catholics and Protestants from both traditions, having them sitting a room where they had never been before with each other because they dont go to school together, they dont live together and it was only in large measure because I really asked them to come that they were there.
"And I wasnt sure it was going to be very successful and finally a Catholic woman on one side of the table said, You know, every time my husband leaves for work in the morning I worry he wont come home at night.
"And then a Protestant woman on the other side said, Every time my son tries to go out at night I worry he wont come home again. And suddenly instead of seeing each other as caricatures and stereotypes they saw each other as human beings and the slow, hard work of peace-making could move forward."
There is no record of a meeting at Belfast City Hall, though Mrs Clinton attended a ceremony there when her husband turned on the Christmas tree lights in November 1995. The former First Lady appears to be referring a 50-minute event the same day, arranged by the US Consulate, the same day at the Lamp Lighter Café on the citys Ormeau Road.
The "Belfast Telegraph" reported the next day that the café meeting was crammed with reporters, cameramen and Secret Service agents. Conversation "seemed a little bit stilted, a little prepared at times" and Mrs Clinton admired a stainless steel tea pot, which was duly given to her, for keeping the brew "so nice and hot".
Hillary Clinton meeting with Belfast women in 1995 and the teapot she admired
Among those attending were women from groups representing single parents, relationship counsellors, youth workers and a cultural society. In her 2003 autobiography "Living History", Mrs Clinton wrote about the meeting in some detail but made no claim that it was significant.
Rather than it being the first time the women had met, Mrs Clinton wrote: "Because they were willing to work across the religious divide, they had found common ground." Mary Fox, the wife of a former IRA prisoner and one of the seven women at the meeting, said she had been there on behalf of the Footprints community centre. "It was quite a political change for the womens sector after the visit of Hillary Clinton. We would love to see her as president. She spoke to each of us and was very interested in our work. She was lovely."
Mr McDevitt said: "Ive always had a theory that these people were already well networked. Maybe they needed a bit of bringing together and she [Mrs Clinton] was an ideal focus point." Once a peace deal was in place, Mrs Clinton supported women politicians and was always available if they visited Washington "to give them a pat on the back, give them moral support", he added. So in a classic woman politicky sort of way I think she was active...She was certainly investing some time, no doubt about it. Whether she was involved on the issue side I think probably not." Some of the people Mrs Clinton met went on to help found the Womens Coalition, which took part in the Good Friday talks. Lord Trimble said: "The Womens Coalition will think they were important. Other people beg to differ."
Steven King, a negotiator with Lord Trimbles Ulster Unionist Party, argued that Mrs Clinton might even have helped delay the chances of peace. "She was invited along to some pre-arranged meetings but I dont think she exactly brought anybody together that hadnt been brought together already," he said. Mrs Clinton was "a cheerleader for the Irish republican side of the argument", he added.
"She really lost all credibility when on Bill Clintons last visit to Northern Ireland [in December 2000] when she hugged and kissed [Sinn Fein leaders] Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness."
advertisementResponding to inquiries from this newspaper, Hillary Clintons campaign issued a statement from Mr Hume. "I am quite surprised that anyone would suggest that Hillary Clinton did not perform important foreign policy work as First Lady," the statement said.
"I can state from firsthand experience that she played a positive role for over a decade in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland. She visited Northern Ireland, met with very many people and gave very decisive support to the peace process.
"There is no doubt that the people of Northern Ireland think very positively of Hillary Clintons support for our peace process, due to her visits to Northern Ireland and her meetings with so many people. In private she made countless calls and contacts, speaking to leaders and opinion makers on all sides, urging them to keep moving forward."
Hillary Clinton meeting with Belfast women in 1995 and the teapot she admired
I was thinking the whole “Good Friday Agreement” fell apart about 6 months after it was signed. The IRA resumed terror activities a few months later and London took back the power they had given them. ???
wait ... that was AlBore and the Internet, my bad.
“I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland,”
Hillary= “I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland,”
Yeah, and Al Gore invented the internet.
Let’s don’t be hasty. If she went on the trip and prevented Willie from raping or assualting any women, then she did preserve peace.
This gives her a legitimate reason to wear green this coming St. Clinton's Day, tell us again how she created peace in Ireland, and how every time she went to the Emerald Isle, all the snakes plunged into the sea.
What brought peace to Northern Ireland was the lowering of the corporate tax rate. In return IReland has the biggest GNP of all Europe. Everyone is too busy making money to fight and argue.
She’s just padding her resume. Everybody does it. /s
I love their gift of understatement.
Being a boil on bj's large ass and keeping him from getting an irish lewinsky only qualifies as being "deeply involved in piece negotiations" not in peace negotiations.
btw - your source link is for the jpg in #2, not the original article.
“I actually went to Northern Ireland more than my husband did,”
Well, Bill had to send her somewhere, anywhere, all the time.
How else could he parade around the Oval Office with his pants around his knees?
The image you posted.
Either Hillary is standing on a soapbox, or she was at an Irish Midget Tea Party.