John Bruton

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, 1995.

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