Irish Republican News · November 5, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Hail to the chief - Ahern

Despite some dismay in Ireland and across Europe at the re-election of U.S. President George Bush, the Irish Prime Minister has sent his congratulations.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he feared the 26 Counties would have suffered economically had Senator John Kerry been allowed to impose a new tax on US multinationals abroad.

“From an Irish point of view, on the straight policies of it, by having the Bush administration, in terms of economic policy we’re in a stronger position.”

Despite the traditional Irish link with the Democrats, Irish people had to respect the majority of opinion in America, he said. “We will always have a special relationship with the Democratic Party and that will continue. In our history there is no doubts that our friends were in the Democratic Party. The people I would have known personally would be in the Democratic Party. However, in the US the people are split,” Mr Ahern said.

“I have conveyed my warmest congratulations to President George W. Bush on his re-election and my best wishes to him in addressing the challenges over the next four years. I have also conveyed my best wishes for the future to Senator John Kerry and his team,” Mr Ahern added.

Green Party foreign affairs spokesman John Gormley TD expressed disappointment at the result, saying it was bad for both the US and the world community.

“He has refused to sign up to many important international treaties including the Kyoto Protocol,” Mr Gormley said. “As the United States uses a quarter of the world`s energy, it is important that they play their part in combating climate change.”

He said Mr Bush’s election would also mean the continuation of an illegal war in Iraq.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny congratulated Mr Bush on a “clear-cut victory” and expressed hopes that he will begin to forge closer links with the UN.

“The American public have had their say,” he said.

“In his second four-year term in the Oval Office I hope that President Bush comes to fully recognise the United Nations as a body of true international stature, with whom a closer working relationship can be mutually beneficial.”

Bush’s record on Irish matters has been castigated by Irish-American groups, who traditionally have more links to the Democrat party than to the Republicans.

In the North, nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan said he could not deny wishing for a different result - but it would not adversely affect the political process.

“President Bush and his administration have continued to be positive and supportive - if parties can get their act together here to secure and sustain restoration then the president, the administration and the wider political system would give us welcome backing,” the former Deputy First Minister added.

However, DUP leader Ian Paisley hailed the Bush victory as a triumph for his “war on terrorism” and family values around the world.

“Mr Bush has exercised a balanced judgement in his attitude to Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Relationships built between Northern Ireland and the White House over the last four years can be further developed and we look forward to the continuation of impartiality in the US contribution.”

Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss is due to meet Gerry Adams in the US this week for a review of negotiations to restore devolution.

Mr Adams is currently in the US fundraising and meeting key Irish American and political figures.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News