Hillary Clinton: A Northern Ireland settlement matters to us all

From the Tip O'Neill peace lecture by the New York Senator, given at the University of Ulster
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The Independent Online

I recall the first trip my husband and I made to Northern Ireland in 1995. We saw hope on people's faces. We were even more encouraged and determined to do whatever we could to encourage those who took risks for peace.

I recall the first trip my husband and I made to Northern Ireland in 1995. We saw hope on people's faces. We were even more encouraged and determined to do whatever we could to encourage those who took risks for peace.

What's at stake here in Northern Ireland goes far beyond the potential for lasting peace, justice and the opportunity of economic growth. It is a signal event in the unfolding challenge we confront around this world today. Nihilistic forces are intent on destroying the modern way of life. But their plans to wreak havoc could be dealt a major setback if a new bid to restore devolution following all-party talks in Kent next month proves successful.

The need for peace in Northern Ireland goes well beyond political stability. It now speaks to regional Europe and even global stability. The motive behind the push for peace now goes not only to the security in one's neighbourhood, but also to Europe's security and to global security as well.

I would urge those that are part of the process to think seriously about the opportunity that is provided by the meetings in September. There are tough issues to be worked out. Will the assembly and executive be set up? And the thorny continuing problems of decommissioning, policing, justice and human rights are serious ones that have to be worked through.

But if too much time goes by, people lose hope. They lose faith in their leaders and lose faith in the democratic process, which is not only a loss for Northern Ireland but a loss for democracy.

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