Pelosi Salutes Irish Taoiseach Ahern on Brink of Historic Breakthrough for Peace in Northern Ireland
Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today after hosting a traditional St. Patrick's Day lunch this afternoon in the Capitol with President George W. Bush and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern of Ireland:
'It was a pleasure to welcome President Bush and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to the Capitol for the traditional St. Patrick's Day lunch today. It was an occasion to recognize the contributions of the Irish here in America, who came to the New World in great numbers and who have played a crucial role in each stage of our nation's development and continue to make significant contributions today.
'Through the outstanding leadership of Taoiseach Ahern, I believe we are on the brink of a historic breakthrough for peace in Northern Ireland. I hope that all parties realize that the March 26 deadline must not be missed and that they redouble their efforts to resolve any differences that might remain so that, nine years after the landmark Good Friday accord, local government will return to the people of Northern Ireland.
'That we are this close is a result of hard work and compromise by leaders on all sides in Northern Ireland. It was encouraged and supported by people of goodwill in both political parties in the United States, and may offer a model for addressing other sectarian conflicts around the world.'