2 September 1997
Caoimhghin O Caoláin TD in top-level US tour
TD meets US Commerce Secretary on investment in border region
The Sinn Fein TD for Cavan and Monaghan Caoimhghin O Caoláin flew out to the United States on Tuesday 2 September to begin a five-day tour which includes high-level meetings with US Administration members, Washington politicians, and the Irish community, including exiles from Cavan and Monaghan.
During his visit to Washington Deputy O Caoláin will be meeting the new US Commerce Secretary William Daly to discuss investment and economic development in Cavan and Monaghan and the border region generally.
Deputy O Caoláin, Mid-Ulster MP Martin McGuinness and West Belfast MP Gerry Adams arrived in Washington DC on Tuesday afternoon. That evening they were guests at a reception hosted by the Irish American community. On Wednesday morning the three Sinn Fein parliamentarians spoke at a press conference in Washington's National Press Building. This was followed by Editorial Board meetings with leading newspapers. The three then went to the White House where they met President Clinton's National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and other members of the Administration.
On Thursday O Caoláin, McGuinness and Adams meet members of Congress, the International Relations Committee and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congressional leader Ben Gilman, Senator Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd.
During his Washington visit Deputy O Caoláin will be meeting the newly appointed Secretary of Commerce William Daly. O Caoláin will be using the opportunity to renew the contacts established by him with the late Chuck Meissner, US Assistant Secretary of Commerce who with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, was tragically killed in a plane crash over Bosnia.
At the US Investment Conference hosted by President Clinton in Washington in May 1995 O Caoláin secured a follow-on visit within days of the conference when Chuck Meissner visited Monaghan. That 1 June meeting was hosted by O Caoláin and included representatives of all political parties, local industrial and business representatives. Deputy O Caoláin also secured with Chuck Meissner a special `Matchmaker Mission' in October 1995 when US business and industrial representatives met their counterparts in the region here.
On Thursday afternoon Deputy O Caoláin travels to New York for a press conference in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel followed by a Cairde Sinn Fein (Friends of Sinn Fein) Dinner at the same venue. On Friday the three elected representatives meet the editorial boards of New York newspapers, Mayor Rudolph Guiliani in City Hall, and family members of Irish political exiles threatened with deportation from the US. A massive Irish Community Rally is being held in the Roseland Ballroom on West 52nd Street on Friday evening.
The final leg of O Caoláin's visit is on Saturday when he travels to Chicago where he will give press conferences and briefings, address an Irish Community Rally and a reception that evening. He will be the keynote speaker at a presentation and reception hosted by Irish-American and American political activists.
Speaking before his departure Deputy O Caoláin said:
``This visit is an important further step in the rebuilding of the peace process in the run-up to what we hope will be real negotiations on 15 September. I welcome the positive role played the Clinton Administration in the rebuilding of the peace process and the vital role played by our exiled people and all our friends in the US in the efforts for justice and peace in our country.
``The opportunity to meet the new US Commerce Secretary William Daly will be fully utilised to adavance the potential for economic development and investment in the much undersupported border region.''
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