"We Can Rebuild Trust and Confidence on All Sides"- Cowen Concludes Talks in Washington
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., has described the Northern Ireland talks this weekend in Washington as "very positive". "We now have the basis for re-building trust and confidence on all sides", he said. The Minister was speaking at the end of extensive discussions in the White House involving the Taoiseach, President Clinton and the leaders of the main pro-Agreement parties. The Minister also had a separate meeting at the Irish Embassy with Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Earlier in the week he briefed Irish-American Community leaders at the Irish Consulate in New York on the current situation in Northern Ireland and spoke at a reception for the Jerry McCabe Fellowship Programme. The Fellowship Programme funds leadership courses for police officers, including many Gardai, at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the reception was attended by Detective McCabe's widow, Ann. The Minister was also guest of honour at a lunch hosted by the Ireland-U.S. Council for Commerce and Industry where the key-note speaker was Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List. In his address the Minister congratulated the Council on the many practical initiatives it has undertaken which have contributed to the economic success Ireland now enjoys.
At a meeting with the Editorial Board of the New York Times and in a series of interviews which included the Adrian Flannelly Radio Show, the Minister highlighted Ireland's strength as a key base for US investors wishing to do business in Europe. "The U.S. is Ireland's largest source of inward investment", he said. "There are 500 companies, employing 65,000 people in Ireland, and these account for more than one third of our exports and a quarter of total manufacturing employment".
Minister Cowen left the United States on Sunday evening for a meeting in Brussels the following morning with European Foreign Ministers.