Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams spoke to an audience of several hundred in the southern U.S. on Wednesday, addressing topics ranging from his involvement in the Irish peace process to the role Irish-Americans play in those events.
Arriving in New Orleans Tuesday night, Mr Adams spoke of his efforts to bring justice, human rights and civil liberties to all in Ireland.
Adams discussed how this initiative has and will continue to ask for the assistance of those of Irish descent all over the world. He explained how earlier that morning he and his entourage had traveled to a memorial for the over 10,000 thousand Irishmen who died while building the many canals within the city.
``Probably 160 odd years ago, when people were forced to leave Ireland mostly because they couldn't stay at home, they came to the United States,'' Adams said. ``When they lived in this part of the world they adapted themselves as indentured servants like those that dug the canals within New Orleans. They were from all parts of Ireland and still Irish at heart till death.''
These individuals, Adams continued, whose ancestors are still within New Orleans, and elsewhere throughout the world, are part of the connected network of global Irishmen who still care for the betterment of their homeland.
``Interestingly enough the Irish people are everywhere still,'' Adams said. ``Everywhere the Irish are found, on every continent and in every state within your country. It is that diaspora of people and the fact that they are still working actively with us has helped us with keeping the peace back home.''
Adams is preparing for a vigorous election campaign, arguably the most important in living memory.
He said he was looking for a Republic to be formed at the end of the peace process.
``This will bring about an end to partition, and a united Irish people living together within the same borders. We believe every people has a right to be free, and, such, the same applies to the Irish.'' Adams praised the United States for its work in assisting this peace process.
``We have been lucky in that both the Clinton and Bush administrations have been supportive of our policies,'' Adams said. ``While Bush has not been as vocal about the polices as Clinton was, in his defense, the policy is still the same, and we still feel the same amount of support from the United States.''
The World Affairs Forum at Tulane University, the Tulane Celtic Society and the Payson Graduate Student Association sponsored Adams' appearance.