John Bruton, Prime Minister of Ireland, brought St. Patrick's Day
greetings to Club members when he spoke at a luncheon on the feast
day of Ireland's patron saint. He also brought a message of hope,
noting that, for the first time in a generation, "Ireland is at
peace." Bruton cautioned, however, that the end of political
violence must be followed by progress in ending the underlying
problems that caused the violence in the first place. He mentioned
four steps that must be taken: first, "get the politicians in
Northern Ireland talking to one another"; second, get the arms out
of circulation; third, change the way in which the police operate
in Northern Ireland; and, lastly, move to release the prisoners.
"There's a lot of work to be done," he concluded. Bruton praised
the work President Clinton has done to help the peace process in
Ireland. "I welcome the fact that Clinton has invited the Unionist
parties to the White House. The whole range of parties in Northern
Ireland should feel that they have concerned friends in America,"
he said. The two sides in Northern Ireland--Nationalist and
Unionist--are tied together inextricably, and both have legitimate
concerns, Bruton said. A way must be found to create links to the
Irish Republic to satisfy one, while maintaining the link to the
United Kingdom to satisfy the other. "What we are seeking to do,"
he said, "is take the federal idea and apply it to Ireland."
National Press Club Record Volume XLV, No. 11, March 23,
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