[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[April 11, 1998]
[Pages 552-553]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
April 11, 1998

    Good morning. Across America and around the world, this is a holy 
weekend for three of the world's great religions. Christians are 
celebrating Easter; Jews, Passover; and Muslims have just ended their 
annual pilgrimage, the Hajj.
    On this special weekend, the eyes of the world and the prayers of so 
many are focused on Northern Ireland, as an historic peace agreement was 
reached among representatives of all the major parties to that long and 
tragic conflict.
    I especially want to salute the leadership of Prime Minister Bertie 
Ahern of Ireland, Prime Minister Tony 
Blair of Great Britain, and the leaders of all 
the parties who came together in a remarkable display of courage to set 
aside differences in the pursuit of peace. I also salute the previous 
Prime Ministers of Ireland and Great Britain, who started and nourished 
this peace process.
    And all Americans should take a special measure of pride that the 
talks in Northern Ireland were chaired by George Mitchell, the former majority leader of the United States 
Senate, who has served his country and the cause of peace very, very 
well. I thank him for his brilliant leadership.
    Of course, we understand that the pain and hatred of so many years 
cannot and will not be washed away in one weekend. So on behalf of the 
American people, I pledge the continuing aid, support, encouragement, 
and prayers of the United States to the effort to build a lasting peace 
and an enduring prosperity in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
    In the last analysis, the future of that region lies in the hearts 
and hands of its people. Like so many Americans, part of my family calls 
Ireland home. And having been there, having met with so many remarkable 
Irish men and women from all sides of the conflict, I have seen the 
future in their eyes--a future in which children can grow up free from 
fear; a future rich with the lilt of Irish laughter, not the pain of 
bitter tears.
    There may be those who seek to undermine this agreement by returning 
to violence, so we are resolved that the acts of peace and courage will 
triumph over acts of cowardice and terror.
    Tomorrow the dawn will break on Easter morning. All across Ireland, 
Catholics and Protestants will, in their own way, proclaim their faith 
in the triumph of life over death. On this Easter, their leaders have 
lifted their Christian beliefs and have lived them by giving the people

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of Ireland and Northern Ireland the chance to choose peace over 
conflict, indeed, to choose life over death.
    When I visited Ulster, and later the Republic of Ireland, the great 
Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, 
gave me a stanza from a poem he wrote that today hangs on the wall of my 
office in the upstairs of the White House. Its message has a special 
meaning today. Here's what it says:

    History says, Don't hope
    On this side of the grave.
    But then, once in a lifetime
    The longed-for tidal wave
    Of justice can rise up,
    And hope and history rhyme.

    What a wonderful Easter gift for the Irish, Irish-Americans, and 
lovers of peace everywhere.
    Thank you for listening.

Note: The address was recorded at 3:30 p.m. on April 10 in the Oval 
Office at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on April 11.