[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[May 25, 1995]
[Pages 755-756]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]



Remarks at the White House Conference on Trade and Investment in Ireland 
Reception
May 25, 1995

    Thank you very much. Let me welcome all of you again and say a 
special word of welcome to Deputy Prime Minister Spring, Sir Patrick 
Mayhew, Ambassador Gallagher, Ambassador Renwick, Ambassador Crowe, 
Ambassador Smith, to Senator Mitchell, to the people who are here from 
the International Fund for Ireland. Let me say a special word of thanks 
to the Chairman, Willie McCarter, and to my good friend and appointee 
Jim Lyons. And let me remind all of you that, appropriately enough, the 
band that just entertained us is known as Celtic Thunder. We arranged 
the Irish weather here tonight--[laughter]--to remind you that we are 
all here under a very large tent in more ways than one.
    If yesterday and today all of us have done what we set out to do, 
then we will all be sharing the same hopes and joining the same work for 
the future of Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland. We 
are especially committed to the economic revival of the people who live 
there, all of the people who live there.
    We know that many people will be skeptical about the possibilities 
of peace and others will be skeptical about the possibilities of 
economic progress. George Bernard Shaw once recognized that skepticism 
about economic matters dies hard, and since he had a foot in Ireland and 
a foot in England, I thought I would remind you of what he said. He 
said, ``If you lined up end to end all the economists in the world, you 
still would not reach a conclusion.'' [Laughter] I think today even Mr. 
Shaw would share our optimism.
    I hope that this conference stirred your thoughts and your 
imagination for the future, that you have had an opportunity to exchange 
ideas and plans, that you will act on the things that you have thought 
about and dreamed about here. The people who are gathered here have the 
opportunity to make all your ideals real. We in government can make a 
difference in political negotiations as the first bridge between groups 
that history has separated. We can be a catalyst for change. But 
sustained progress will require more. It demands the engagements of all 
the major groups within society, the companies that provide the economic 
lifeblood, the churches, the political parties, the civic associations.
    Already there has been tremendous progress. We can see that in the 
desire for peace that runs throughout Northern Ireland and--let me 
emphasize this--in the work of the 200 community and civic leaders who 
traveled here at their own great expense to advance the cause of 
reconciliation. We thank them especially for being here. These men and 
women are on the frontlines bringing down the barricades, bringing 
together the people of the Shankill and the people of the Falls.
    I want to thank, as well, the Irish-American community, the business 
community, and the nongovernmental organizations. You have risen to the 
task. Now let me say that, as I thank you--is the sound off? That's 
good, because I'm almost through. [Laughter]
    I asked you here tonight mostly to celebrate and not to hear another 
speech. I ask you to remember that the United States is always with you.
    Just behind me here, through the--you can almost see them, even 
through the plastic cover--are the two oldest trees at the White House, 
two grand magnolias planted over 165 years ago by Andrew Jackson, the 
son of an immigrant farmer from the Carrickfergus in County Antrim. 
Every day I look at those two old trees and think about our Nation's 
past and our Nation's future. Today I will look at them with fresh eyes 
to think about Ireland's past and Ireland's future, the future of the 
people of Northern Ireland and the people of Ireland.

[[Page 756]]

    Thank you all. Good luck. God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 6:19 p.m. on the South Grounds at the White 
House.