By Ray O’Hanlon
New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey has returned from a week-long visit to Ireland that took him to both sides of the border.
While in Belfast, McGreevey and his wife, Dina, were guests of honor at a dinner hosted by the city’s recently elected Sinn FTin mayor, Alex Maskey.
While McGreevey was in Belfast, the IRA issued an apology for those it had killed and injured during the Troubles.
McGreevey, whose Irish family roots are in County Down and whose grandfather was a Sinn Fein member, hailed the apology as a “substantial step.”
While in Belfast, McGreevey visited nationalist areas and met with Sinn FTin representative Gerry Kelly. McGreevey presented Kelly with a porcelain bald eagle with a plaque reading “Freedom,” according to the Star Ledger newspaper.
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The governor had planned to meet with Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble in Belfast but Trimble had to leave for London on business.
McGreevey was heading an official New Jersey state trade and investment delegation, which was part of his promised effort to enhance business ties between Ireland, North and South, and the Garden State.