Friday, June 29, 2007

A United Northern Ireland

Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness addressed an enthusiastic crowd of well-wishers Thursday at the offices of Thomas Moran of Mutual of Omaha. McGuinness appeared with Peter Robinson, Minister for Finance and Personnel, at a reception co-hosted by Moran and Bill Flynn.
Photo credit: Patricia Jameson-Sammartano

Both ministers acknowledged the assistance of the United States in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, and both also warned of danger to the process if the rest of the world forgets them. Mc Guinness stated that the evolution of the NI Executive is being studied as a model for conflict resolution throughout the world. Robinson especially stressed that Northern Ireland is a marketable commodity, and that went over well with the audience, most of whom were from the business community.

McGuinness is a former Irish Republican Army Chief of Staff and Robinson is deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, headed by Dr. Ian Paisley. It was moving to see the former
adversaries unite in collaboration for the Northern Ireland Executive, although the missing man in the room was Paisley, who at 81 and in fragile health could not make the trip.

The quote for the evening belonged to McGuinness: "I like Ian Paisley; I like working with him, and at one time I didn't like him at all."

Patricia Jameson-Sammartano
Culture Editor, WGT

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