Statement on the Situation in Ireland

 

March 17, 1988

 

St. Patrick's Day is a joyous occasion on which we celebrate the Irish heritage in America and the ties of kinship, culture, and values which the American and Irish people share. The friendship between our two nations, treasured for generations, will continue to be strengthened by our shared commitment to democracy, justice, and peace.

 

It is appropriate to pause in our celebrations today to consider the still unresolved problems in Ireland. Northern Ireland continues to suffer from senseless violence, which tragically we have seen repeated in recent days, and high unemployment. We can best address these problems by supporting those who seek peaceful settlements to disputes and rejecting those who seek solutions through terror. Concerned Americans can help by refusing financial or moral support to any Irish terrorists.

 

We support the Governments and people of the United Kingdom and of Ireland in their work for justice, progress, and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Our government welcomed the landmark Anglo-Irish agreement when it was signed in 1985. It has already yielded important results. As an expression of our continuing support, the United States is contributing $120 million to the International Fund for Ireland to promote economic progress and reconciliation -- the goals of the agreement. Reconciliation and an end to discrimination in the workplace can best be accomplished in an environment of economic growth. We therefore support economic development, the creation of new jobs, and equal employment opportunity in Northern Ireland.

 

Let all Americans and people of good will resolve on this St. Patrick's Day to work toward a future of peace and prosperity for Ireland.