FRIENDS OF IRELAND STATEMENT
Senator Edward M. Kennedy and the members of the Friends of Ireland Executive Committee of the United States Congress, today released the following statement in honor of St. Patrick's Day and the Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Northern Ireland political leaders visiting the United States:
"Nearly 40 million Americans trace their roots to Ireland. On this St. Patrick's Day, the Friends of Ireland in the United States Congress join them in celebrating the unique ties between America and the island of Ireland.
We extend a warm welcome to the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, and to the political leaders from Northern Ireland who are here in the United States for this important day. We commend both the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown, for their strong commitment to the peace process, which has done so much to transform Northern Ireland from conflict to cooperation.
We condemn the recent murders of two British soldiers and a Catholic officer of the Police Service of Northern Ireland by criminals who have no public support. We welcome the swift and decisive condemnation of these brutal crimes by the British and Irish Governments and the political parties in Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland have clearly chosen a course of reconciliation and stability for their future, and a small group of irreconcilable terrorists must never be permitted to reverse that course through violence.
The courageous example of the people of Northern Ireland, who continue to choose peace over conflict, offers a bright lesson of hope to other troubled areas of the world.
On this St. Patrick's Day we reaffirm our strong support for the government of Northern Ireland. We continue to support the transfer of authority and responsibility for justice to the Northern Ireland Executive, and we look forward to maintaining the hard-won peace and prosperity in the years ahead."
FRIENDS OF IRELAND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SENATE
Nancy Pelosi Edward M. Kennedy
John Boehner Christopher J. Dodd
Richard E. Neal Susan M. Collins