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The Long Road to Peace in Northern IrelandPeace Lectures from the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University$
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Marianne Elliott

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781846310652

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846314155

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The Awakening: Irish-America's Key Role in the Irish Peace Process

The Awakening: Irish-America's Key Role in the Irish Peace Process

(p.67) The Awakening: Irish-America's Key Role in the Irish Peace Process
The Long Road to Peace in Northern Ireland

Niall O'dowd


This chapter presents an insider's account of the Irish peace process. The author, as editor of the main Irish–American newspaper, The Irish Voice, was dismayed at attitudes in Ireland as well as Britain, which dismissed all Irish–Americans as too ‘green’ or too ‘republican’, and excluded those with real influence who were genuinely seeking to assist the peace process in Northern Ireland. He cites the cases of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, and the MacBride Principles (seeking to establish fair employment practices in Northern Ireland) as issues where Ireland simply followed British advice and froze out Irish–America. Irish–Americans remained powerless under both Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior because of the strength of the ‘special relationship’ with Britain. By 1992, with Clinton at the White House, the Irish–American lobby was in a position to act legitimately as the ‘third party’.

Keywords:   Irish–Americans, Northern Ireland, peace process, Bill Clinton, third party, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Senior

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