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24 July 1997 Edition

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US delegation meets Sinn Féin leaders

A HIGH POWERED DELEGATION of American businessmen and Irish Voice publisher Niall O'Dowd met with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness MP for Mid-Ulster in West Belfast on Tuesday 22 July.

The Americans Chuck Feeney, Bill Flynn and Tom Moran both of Mutual of America as well as O'Dowd have in the past number of years played a significant role in building the peace process in the United States.

The meeting held in Sinn Fein's Belfast headquarters, Connolly House, indicated the eagerness with which the Americans wanted to welcome the reinstatement of the IRA cessation and endorse the significance of the move.

Flynn, chair of Mutual America described Adams as, ``a man of peace'', and said that ``the people of the North demanded that unionists join Sinn Fein at the talks table. I fully expect expect that all parties will find a way to sit at the table''.

He added that he would not be surprised if the Sinn Fein President was invited to the White House soon.

And writing in Monday's Irish Times Niall O'Dowd gave weight to the significant interest being shown in the US for events in Ireland when he wrote that ``peace in Ireland is an article of faith'' in the Clinton household.

Of the meeting Adams said:

``This group has, since 1993, taken the lead in demonstrating the positive role which the Irish diaspora can make to the attempt to achieve a just and lasting peace in Ireland.''

Former Congressman Bruce Morrison and Joe Jamison of the American labour Coalition were unable to attend the meeting.


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