THIS HAS been an important week for Ireland and another memorable one for President Clinton. Whatever the worries about hype, the visit to Omagh has played an important part in the healing process for the injured, the bereaved and their families. It was unfortunate (if predictable) that some reporters exploited a photocall to question the President on Monica Lewinsky. It had no bearing on the purpose of his visit, or its importance. Some in the United States are obsessed by this matter - over which the president has already made his apologies. Their motivation may be to destroy Mr Clinton, but, rather than diminishing him in the eyes of the world, they may end up diminishing the United States. He has his faults. But Mr Clinton has been a better president than many where it counts - on the economic stage at home and the international stage abroad.
THE HISTORIC ties between America and Ireland are unique, and Mr Clinton has played no small part in strengthening them. It is to be hoped that the momentum for peace, which has been in no small way helped by the American juggernaut, is unstoppable, but whether, as Mr Clinton so confidently asserts, the nightmare is over and dreams can begin remains to be seen. One way or another we can all sleep a good deal easier because of Mr Clinton's efforts. It is too early to countenance writing his political obituary, but Northern Ireland will surely be featured amongst the prizes of his achievements.
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