Hillary’s Speech to the Stormont Assembly…

Sorry for the continual cowping all day… It spoiled what could/should have been a good day for us (and no doubt you if you were trying to access our server)… If you missed the big event there’s not much to tell other than Hillary could never have lived up to the hype on her supposed role in policing and justice. Eamonn Mallie told Slugger earlier this evening, so far as the DUP are concerned nothing that’s been hammered out their confidential letter from Gordon Brown stands unless its been okayed by the UK’s ‘putative PM’, David Cameron… Which tells it’s own story about just when the DUP are thinking this stuff might kick in… That said, Clinton’s address was a precise and eloquent re-orientation for a body of democrats who appear to have lost their way (more on my Guardian piece due out tonight or tomorrow morning)… A copy of the speech below the fold…

Update: UTV has the original footage

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for your very warm welcome. But, indeed, it is I who is honored today to be here in this assembly, in this beautiful land that represents so much, not only to my country, but indeed, to the world, a place where bullets have been traded for ballots, where ancient hatreds have yielded to new hopes, and the promise of a lasting peace has given people permission, after years of uncertainty and despair, not just to dream again of a better future for yourselves and your children, but to act on those dreams.

So, let me first pay tribute to leadership of Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, your first minister and your deputy first minister, and also to the other party leaders, Mark Durkan and Reg Empey, David Ford, Dawn Purvis, and Gerry Adams. Thank you for all that you are doing.

And I am told, as well, that here we have two other men who have instrumental in the history of Northern Ireland, Dr. Ian Paisley and John Hume. And I welcome and thank them for what they have done, as well.

We meet at an important time in the history of Northern Ireland. In the 11 years since the Good Friday Agreement was signed, you have traveled a long way together on the road to peace. Groups have laid down their weapons. Empty streets are now bustling with activity. And here, in this chamber, men and women who were once sworn enemies work side by side to secure the achievements of recent years, and to deliver a stable, prosperous future for the people you represent.

These accomplishments are remarkable, and a credit to you and to all those who have worked for peace, not only the leaders here at Stormont, but also Westminster and Leinster House. But most importantly, to the thousands of ordinary citizens, mothers and fathers, whose determination to end the Troubles made them fervent activists for peace.

At this time, we can recognize you have traveled a great distance. But you do not need me to tell you that your journey is not yet over. The promise of the Good Friday Agreement and the St. Andrews Agreement is not yet fully realized. And Northern Ireland is now facing a new challenge with the global economic downturn, which threatens some of the gains that you have made in the past decade.

The value of peace is not only the absence of violence. It is also the presence of new opportunities for investment and jobs, for education and health care, and political participation. So it is critical, in this moment of economic turmoil, to protect the progress you have already achieved, and to build upon it, to ensure that your people continue to enjoy the rewards of peace, and to embrace it for the long term.

Since this assembly was restored two-and-a-half years ago, this devolution has enabled you to work together to enact sensible, necessary reforms on everything from health to housing to environmental safety. No one ever said it was going to be easy. Of course it is difficult. It is the nature of democracy. It is not easy in any legislature, as I know from experience, under the best of circumstances. But in these circumstances, the work you have done is all the more extraordinary.

So, please know that the Obama administration and the United States is committed to helping you finish your journey to put far behind you the long years of division and conflict, to build confidence and trust across all communities and political parties, and to honor the hopes and sacrifices of your people by making whole and permanent Northern Ireland’s emerging peace.

Now, we know what it means to be supportive. And we also know what it means to meddle. And I want to be clear that when it comes to the important issue of devolution, of policing and justice, that is a decision for this assembly to make. But as a true friend — and I thank the Speaker for his kind comments — my hope is that you will achieve what you have set out to do, to complete the process of devolution. And I am confident that, together, you can go forward and harness the exciting, human, and economic potential that Northern Ireland has to offer.

I know there has been considerable effort in recent weeks to address concerns, and work toward a resolution during this important period. There have been many moments in Northern Ireland’s peace journey when progress seemed difficult, when every route forward was blocked, and there seemed to be nowhere to go. But you have always found a way to do what you believed was right for the people of Northern Ireland. As Scripture urges us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

And today, Northern Ireland stands as an example to the world of how even the staunchest adversaries can overcome differences to work together for the common and greater good. So, I encourage you to move forward now with that same spirit of unstoppable grit and resolve. And I pledge that the United States will be behind you all the way, as you work toward peace and stability that lasts.

In recent months, more paramilitary groups have made the decision to decommission their weapons — a necessary act that is critical for peace. But the killings this March, of Police Constable Stephen Carroll and soldiers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar remind us that there are still those looking to seize any opportunity to undermine the process, and to destabilize this government.

Now they are watching this assembly for signs of uncertainty or internal agreement. They want to derail your confidence. And though they are small in number, their thuggish tactics and destructive ambitions threaten the security of every family in Northern Ireland. Moving ahead together with the process will leave them stranded on the wrong side of history.

Of course, the best guard against those bent on dragging Northern Ireland back to the past is not an edict from the top, but the day-to-day faith and fortitude of the people of Northern Ireland. In the days after the killings, the world watched and prayed that a new period of violence would not erupt. In fact, the murders had the opposite effect. Ordinary people, Catholics and Protestants alike, marched together in vigils, attended interfaith services, and declared with one voice their refusal to go back to the old ways, and their insistence on looking to a brighter future. The killings could have been the start of a backward slide. Instead, they proved to the world and to each of you how far you have come.

I know the divisions within Northern Ireland are not fully healed. Even today, many Catholics and Protestants live segregated lives: separate schools, separate neighborhoods, some still divided by walls. But given time, and given the leadership that each of you can provide, the torn fabric of society will be woven together, stitch by stitch, choice by choice.

The people of Northern Ireland have given this assembly a powerful mandate. And you, in turn, have accepted the responsibility to summon the highest qualities of leadership, and to repay the faith that the people have vested in you with lasting results. That means not just completing devolution, but using your authority wisely, as you have been, to build a thriving society, where people can live free from fear, where parents can raise healthy families, where ever child can receive a high-quality education, and all people, no matter their religion or their political beliefs, have the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.

We have already seen, firsthand, how peace helps promote economic growth and opportunity. After the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland’s economy took off: unemployment fell, house prices rose, new businesses flourished. International investment increased, as well. Since the cease fires of the 1990s, the number of U.S. companies in Northern Ireland has increased by 150 percent. And U.S. investment alone has increased employment by creating 20,000 jobs here since 1994. Now, our businesses have long been interested in investing, but it was your commitment to peace that finally made it possible.

Across the world, as the Speaker referenced, Northern Ireland is seen as a model of how resolving conflict can lead to genuine progress, and material improvement in people’s lives. So, in the face of the economic downturn, it is essential to protect and strengthen the progress you have made by enacting smart reforms, investing in your people in health and education and job training services, encouraging entrepreneurship, and continuing to attract foreign investment.

Here again, your commitment to a permanent peace based on the principles and agreements you’ve adopted must be unequivocal and unwavering. Northern Ireland’s success in the competitive global economy depends on investors believing that you will do all you can to maintain political stability and public safety, just as your success in keeping the trust of your people relies on your ability to prove that peace leads to meaningful improvements in their lives. Peace and economic progress should go hand in hand.

The United States will continue to strongly support your efforts to provide greater opportunities. We intend to increase our economic engagement. Later today, our new economic envoy, Declan Kelly, and I will meet with business leaders from the United States and Northern Ireland, who have agreed to increase business-to-business collaboration between our people.

Establishing a last peace, building a strong economy, creating the conditions for a healthy, flourishing society, none of this is easy. And the work is never done. Indeed, none of these goals are final destinations. You have to keep working at them day by day. That certainly is a lesson we have learned over the 230 years in our own country. And we keep relearning them all of the time. We, too, have struggled to achieve unity.

But my country has long felt a special connection with Northern Ireland. Many Americans, as you know so well, have ancestral ties to this land. They have family and friends who still live here. So, helping to bring peace is a point of national pride. And, for many of us, it also has great personal meaning.

For me, this is very personal. My husband and I came here in 1995. Bill was deeply invested in forging the Good Friday Agreement before, and in the years since. I came here as First Lady, and then as a senator from New York. And I joined with every American in celebrating of the signing of the St. Andrews Agreement. And, by the way, every I was in the Senate, I had an intern from Northern Ireland, and one of whom came back and ran for office herself.

So, over the years, Bill and I have had the privilege of meeting many of you. And I learned that peace is not only made in the halls of government, but at kitchen tables, and in local pubs, and school yards, workplaces, and in the hearts of people in every neighborhood.

Changing hearts is the hardest work of all. It is hard for an individual, harder still for a community, where every loss or injustice, pain or resentment is magnified. But leaders like all of you are elected to offer a choice between allegiance to a past that cannot be changed, and commitment to a different future that you shape.

When Bill and I first came to Belfast, we stayed at the Europa Hotel, as I have again this time, even though then there were sections boarded up because of damage from bombs. We went to City Hall, as I will later today, for the lighting of the Christmas tree. There were people stretched in all directions, as far as I could see: mothers clutching babies, fathers with children on their shoulders, all with upraised faces. I have carried that image in my mind over the last 14 years. I have wondered about the children whose lives were changed, and maybe even saved, because many of you took risks for peace.

This peace is yours. People in this hall have the power to secure and sustain it for generations to come. I pray that you succeed. And I pledge that we will stand with you as you do the hard work of building a future of peace and prosperity for people who so richly deserve it.

May God bless you and sustain you in this important work. Thank you all very much.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The DUP are now being ‘encouraged’ by the 3 governments and just about everyone else to
    complete the transfer with Hilary and her envoy indicating in Dublin that investment is linked to its completion – Pete left that bit out of his earlier extract from her speech in Dublin – which the DUP are of course in denial about.

    The great DUP negotiating ‘success’ of the STA has morphed into a weakend negotiating position(Paul Bew) as the TUV eats into their vote, the British threaten them with papish influence – which Deputy Dodsy and Robbo admit – and not in political lifetime as morphed into not before Christmas.

    The body language of Robbo and Marty said it all as they greeted Hillers – with Robbo at times struggling to get the few words he said out and Marty all statesmanlike, if a little effusive, and sounding like the real First Minister which he will be of cousre if Robbo doesnt get the 2 funny walkout guys and the other naysayers under control soon.

    There can be little doubt that the DUP wouldnt want a Clinton about the place and embarassinlgy talking about risks for peace* and GFAs and all that dreadful nationalist nomenclature which sounds as if she was a Connolly house regular.

    *Do unionists ever use the term Peace Process? More Denial?

  • granni trixie

    I was just happy that out MLAs had some manners about them with the woirld watching. I remember being very embartassed when Trimble left early at a big event for Clinton attented by Blair etc…we all thought he was caught short but Jonathan Powell obviously thought this was yet another eg of his ineptitude (see his book).

    The DUP have got form in this respect too – eg Sammy Wilson when Lord mayor of belfast woulnt meet the Dali Lama (and perhaps Clinton on another visit?). Funny enough he was ‘too busy’ to attend today also.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy mac

    I’m not going to make a habit of responding to your inventions but..

    You’re [still] not paying attention to what’s being said. In this case to what the US Secretary of State said in the Assembly. Which is what Mick’s post, and my previous post, was about. Note: not in Dublin.

    As for what “Hillary and her envoy [indicated] in Dublin”, quote and link please?

    Because I’d like to compare it to what Declan Kelly has previously said

    I spoke to the US Economic Envoy Declan Kelly a couple of hours ago and he tried to steer a middle course through the matter by arguing that political stability and progress in the Stormont institutions was important, whilst adding that there is no reason progress cannot be made on the economic front as the political process continues.

    As mentioned here.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    granni trixie ,

    not bad considering most of the DUP looked like they were in the waiting room at the dentists and the poor buggers then had to get up and clap when SF jumped to their feet at the end which set the 2 quarefellahs off on a runner.

    No more of the bad old days where the Rev Ian or some other Holy man of the cloth would leap up and start giving it some from the Old Testament – mind you, with the-whore-of-Babylon (or whatever he is known as in Ballymena) on the way we might be yet be in for some DUP biblical theatricals.

  • Italian Republican – Oglach John Brady RIP

    Personally I wouldn’t welcome any american head of state ’til the USA continue to occupy other countries around the world such as Iraq or Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton has no right to speak in the Six Occupied Counties while being supportive of british repression against Republicans. She simply can’t talk about “terrorism” just because she’s a staunchly supporter of Great Britain’s terror tactics that are needed to maintain British Rule in Ireland. As a left wing/anti fascist and anti imperialist student I’ve always protested against a War Criminal called George W. Bush when he came to Rome.

    Let me publish a RSF Statement on Hillary Clinton’s visit in the Occupied Six Counties:

    The appearance of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Stormont is an unwelcome one, a spokesperson for Republican Sinn Féin has said.
    It is clear that her presence here is to pre-empt devolution of Westminster powers over ‘policing and justice’ to Stormont,” he said.
    Any transfer of British powers over so-called ‘policing and justice’ will have no real effect. Indeed the Stormonteers charged with overseeing this – especially the Provisionals – will go out of their way to demonstrate their loyalty to so-called ‘British justice’.
    And for the United States to claim that it holds any moral high ground in terms of spreading peace and democracy is frankly laughable.
    Whilst Mrs. Clinton claims that Irish Republicans ‘threaten the security of every family’ here, the reality is that both the USA and the Brits threaten the security of the entire world. The best contribution she could make to Ireland is to pack her bags and go home.”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    from Irish Times – see para starting “Clearly there are questions” which you INLCUDED and the last para starting “Stressing US commitment” which you did NOT.

    “THE DEVOLUTION of policing and justice is “an absolutely essential milestone” in the Northern Ireland peace process, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said yesterday.

    Mrs Clinton was speaking in Dublin ahead of her visit to Stormont today where she will address the Northern Ireland Assembly.

    “Clearly there are questions and some apprehensions, but I believe that due to the concerted effort of the British government, the Irish Government and the support of friends like us in the United States, that the parties understand that this is a step they must take together,” Mrs Clinton said before holding meetings with Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin at Farmleigh in the afternoon.

    “There are so many dividends for peace and they have already been evidenced in Northern Ireland but there is more to come. It will take the leaders of both communities working together not only to continue the devolution but to make day to day governing a reality. I am confident that that is within reach.”

    Mrs Clinton said the peace process had been an example and encouragement for her when it came to dealing with other conflicts. “Many people who are despairing over the prospects for peace look to Northern Ireland – they think to themselves that if it could be done there then perhaps we too have a chance to cross that border between conflict and peace.”

    Stressing US commitment to the process, Mrs Clinton said the recent appointment of economic envoy Declan Kelly was a “very tangible signal that we want to invest in the peace dividends that will come with the final devolution of power and authority and the full acceptance of responsibility by the people of Northern Ireland themselves”.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy,

    I didn’t link to any Irish Times report on a Dublin speech. All my links where in relation to the Assembly.

    You see that’s another examnple of you inventing a line with which to attack a blogger rather than tackling what has been posted.

    And Declan Kelly clearly has a different intrepretation of what his appointment means – although it’s not necessarily mutually exclusive to Clinton’s objectives.

    But that’s the benefit of paying attention to what is actually said, and by whom, rather than relying on one report.

    Btw, you’re still ignoring what Mick is pointing to in his [this] post.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete, that is piss poor – you used part of her speech in Dublin and not the the part that clearly contradicts what the DUP said about the investment – ie Hilary is clealy linking investment to the transfer.

    You suggest I didnt pay attention to the detail and yet you missed a crucial part of her speech in Dublin – the fact that you didnt use/link to the Irish Times is irrelvant.

    You asked for evidence that my contnetion that ” Pete left that bit out of his earlier extract from her speech in Dublin – which the DUP are of course in denial about” and I have given it to you – I sugggest you withdraw the folllowing unsubstantiated remarks

    1) “I’m not going to make a habit of responding to your inventions but..”

    2) and “You’re [still] not paying attention to what’s being said”.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    “Which tells it’s own story about just when the DUP are thinking this stuff might kick in”

    There is nothing to suggest that because they want to get PoshBoyDCs view that it means they have to wait until he’s elected. Or have you got some evidence to that effect that is not in the public domain? If we are to take the Tories public utterances on the subject this consultation is expected to take place BEFORE the election.

  • OC

    Many thanks to UTV for making a news vid available across the pond, unlike BBC & RTÉ.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    “you used part of her speech in Dublin”

    No, I used part of a report of her speech in the NI Asesembly.

    And, for what it’s worth, “You’re [still] not paying attention to what’s being said”.

    Nothing to say on Declan Kelly?

    Inventions might make your day, but they are irrelevant when the detail is examined.

  • “This peace is yours. People in this hall have the power to secure and sustain it for generations to come.”

    How many generations did Hillary prayer for when she called for the continuation of Stormont? 🙂

  • Driftwood

    The speech was fairy liquid, and of no discernible importance to anyone. That last line of hers is patronising bollox. God wants P&J devolved does he?
    It will not matter to anyone if such powers are devolved tomorrow (beyond the Stormont gravy train)and it’s perfectly acceptable for David Cameron or anyone else to analyse that English taxpayers money is spent wisely.
    Sammy, you have made this in to a big deal, your day will come when it is devolved, and 99% of the population here will wake up to a new dawn.
    The sky turns a warm yellow, granny’s laughing, the kids are laughing, the dog’s tail is wagging, some nauseating child is playing with the hose on the lawn, spraying a rainbow of water into the sunshine while laughing his head off as Policing and Jusice are finally devolved. Life is good.
    I believe Gordon Brown is on such medication.

  • NCM

    Well, showing up and reading a speech on the general topic of “peace” should just about earn her next year’s Nobel Prize.

  • danielmoran

    sammy mcnally msg 1 ….. it was comical to see gregory trying to claim this walkout was not a snub. actually, given campbell’s normal sneering attitude, maybe it wasn’t, but he had a hard time convincing the media of that. willie mccrea wisely decided to stop digging, and got on with his business , leaving campbell to flounder. someone sahould tell him that the other duppers present didn’t see fit to behave in this way. but then manners and breeding always tells. greg has neither.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Nevin,
    thanks for that.

    Pete,
    re. Attention to detail

    You seem to have both misunderstood the RTE Report and been misled by it- but the fact is you used part of Hilary’s speech(remarks) in Dublin (see Nevin’s link) and left out the bit that directly contradicted the DUP assertion that the transfer of police was linked to investemnt. I also just noticed you also left out the first sentence – also reported by RTE – which I have reproduced below. Funny that?

    SECRETARY CLINTON: I agree that the step of devolution for policing and justice is an
    absolutely essential milestone. Clearly, there are questions and some apprehensions, but I believe that due to the concerted effort of the British Government, the Irish Government, the support of friends like us in the United States,
    that the parties understand that this is a step they must take together.

    You printed:

    “Clearly there are questions and some apprehensions but I believe that due to the concerted effort of the British government, Irish government and support of friends like us in the US, that the parties understand this is a step they must take together. It will take the leaders of both communities working together to continue not only the devolution but then to make day-to-day governing a reality, and I’m confident that that is within reach.” [added emphasis]

    As I suggested you should withdraw your negative remarks to me in light of your error and misunderstanding – that would be attention to detail and accountabilty for detail.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Driftwood,

    Nicley put.

    Irish people running Irish affairs is what the GFA is all about and as Stormo works better and gets more power the pointlessness of sending a few MPs (soon no Nationlaists will turn up) to Westminster will be evident to all. As effectively heads of state, Marty and Robbo go straight to No 10 if any issue needs to be dealt with – no need to bother with parliament where, even if it wasnt a matter of principle to boycott it, influence would be tiny anyway.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    danielmoran,

    the DUP were presumably told to be on their best behaviour though I’m sure most of them would have thought something similar to what Jimbo (TUV) obeserved on his website.

    “On a day of Clintonmania, for me, the far more timely and relevant contribution came from Lord Tebbit, on the 25th commeration of the IRA bombing in Brighton, when he aptly descibed Joint First Minister McGuinness as an “unrepentant terrorist”.

  • Brit

    “Irish people running Irish affairs is what the GFA is all about”

    Or

    Northern Irish people runing Northern Irish affairs within the UK is what the GFA is all about

    ;op

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brit,

    re. GFA.

    you have to hand it to the Englezes – when it comes to dealing with foreign affairs they can be cute hoors.

    Pete,

    You asked for links/evidence – Nevin supplied you with details of her speeches. Do you now accept that you actually quoted from Hilary’s Dublin speech NOT her Belfast one.

    Are you now going to withdraw your negative remarks?

  • pat egan

    AT last the truth How the the Irish Voice got the belfast story on HIllary right and everyone else got it wrong.
    wronghttp://www.irishcentral.com/news/How-Irish-Voice-got-it-right-on-Hillary-Clinton-64215152.html

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    pat,

    excuse my naivety but why did this become such a contentions issue – is there some background ill-feeling or is it because there was a feeling/hope that if the Irish Voice got it wrong it would be very damaging for them and therfrefor good for the others? Seems quite petty really.

  • 6countyprod

    The Daily Beast has an interesting little side story today.

    Lead paragraph: “Remember Hillary Clinton’s infamous gaffe about gunfire in Bosnia? Now, questions are emerging about the accuracy of her remarks during a trip to Northern Ireland this week.”

    More: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-10-14/oops-did-she-do-it-again/full/

    I call it poetic license. 😉

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    6countyprod

    so we can take it there were no stories about cats being stuck up trees when this expose broke.