“I’ve accepted the invitation. I’m looking forward to it,” Clinton told the Echo in a phone interview Tuesday as she traveled in Pennsylvania.
Attendance at the forum, Clinton said, was very important ot her because of her “long involvement” in the Irish peace process “and the relationships and friends that I have built up over the years.
During the forum, at a venue to be finalized but one most likely to be in New York, Clinton will answer questions on issues of concern to Irish America.
Senator Clinton confirmed to the Echo Tuesday that she would speak at an event that will bring to the mind her husband’s attendance at a 1992 forum, an event that laid the groundwork for President Bill Clinton’s subsequent Irish policies.
The Democrat’s affirmative response is the first after invitations were sent to all the leading presidential candidates in the past couple of weeks by former New York Assemblyman John Dearie.
It was Dearie who organized the very first forum back in 1984.
“It’s a go,” Dearie said with regard to Clinton’s participation on a date that will before the April 22 Democratic primary in Pennsylvania.
Dearie and other forum organizers decided to offer the candidates varied dates at which they could attend in a solo capacity.
All the candidates under one roof on one day would unrealistic, was Dearie’s view as he set in motion the effort to attract positive responses from Clinton, fellow Democrat, Senator Barack Obama, and now Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
Clinton’s agreeing to attend a forum is certain to boost prospects of Obama and McCain turning up to answer questions on a range of issues that mostly focus on future U.S. policy towards Ireland and Northern Ireland in particular.
Senator Clinton, meanwhile, said she would not be in New York for St. Patrick’s Day but would be taking part in parades in Pittsburgh and Scranton.
“I think the people in New York will understand,” she said.