Category: Archive

Clinton dedicates Eniskillen peace center

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Anne Cadwallader and Jack Holland

BELFAST — Former President Bill Clinton formally opened a center, dedicated to his efforts to achieve international peace, in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, during a brief visit to Northern Ireland last Wednesday, June 5.

The center in Enniskillen cost more than _3 million and includes education and community facilities and an art gallery. Clinton traveled north from Dublin and was joined at the center by Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan.

The center is built on the site of one of Northern Ireland’s worst atrocities — the Remembrance Day bombing that killed 11 people in November 1987. The Provisional IRA carried out the bombing.

The first minister, David Trimble, cancelled his meeting with the former president at the last minute to travel to London to speak to the British prime minister, Tony Blair, about recent street violence in Belfast.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Clinton said people should never underestimate the power of peace and that recent violence in Northern Ireland should be seen in the “proper context.”

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“It is the last gasp of an old order and old habits die hard,” he said.

As he arrived at the building, police forcibly removed one of those injured in the bombing from the entrance to the center. Protester Jim Dixon, an opponent of the Good Friday agreement, said the victims of the bombing had no role in the establishment of the center.

“Victims have had no input, but they are using the victims to get money for it,” he said.

Before traveling to Enniskillen, the former president had spent part of the morning at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, where he inspected the Special Collections room, dedicated to material relating to the Northern Ireland conflict. The library has mounted an exhibition, “Troubled Images,” which is coming to the U.S. next year, based on material from the collection.

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