The proposal was that, if elected, Senator Obama would review the need for a special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland. Publisher Niall O’Dowd, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, said this would be “completely unacceptable” to Irish Americans, though it has long been clear Irish Americans cannot be treated as a homogeneous lump and there was no groundswell of protest.
At a meeting in New York in 1992, Irish Americans had bent Bill Clinton’s ear to a list of demands on Northern Ireland, including a special envoy, this when his presidential campaign was mired in philandering stories. Following Mr. Clinton’s election, the former Senate majority leader George Mitchell was appointed to the role.
Mr. Mitchell was to be made chair by the governments of the UK and Ireland of the commission to address the impasse on the decommissioning of IRA weapons, following the organization’s 1994 ceasefire. He recommended that decommissioning take place during all-party talks on constitutional arrangements for the region, rather than before them as the British demanded.
This was rejected by the IRA, which ended its ceasefire in 1996. Its political wing, Sinn F