July 15, 2019

Lawmakers endorse Irish peace accord

AUGUSTA — Maine lawmakers routinely approved a resolution recognizing peace efforts in Northern Ireland on Wednesday, citing former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell’s “key role” in settlement negotiations.

The prime sponsor of the measure, Democratic Rep. Michael Brennan of Portland, introduced it in the House of Representatives.

Brennan’s remarks were seconded by House Minority Leader Thomas Murphy, R-Kennebunk.

The measure, declaring that Maine residents “are deeply gratified that peace is now possible in Northern Ireland,” was sent on to the Senate.

Marking its introduction there was Sen. Robert Murray, D-Bangor.

As the resolution was being passed, the two politicians central to making the Good Friday accord of April 1998 finally work — Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams — were meeting separately with President Clinton in Washington before his gala St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

At an American Ireland Fund dinner Tuesday night, Trimble and Adams sat at nearby tables but didn’t talk.

The Maine resolution offered the most serious but far from the only mention of things Irish on St. Patrick’s Day in Augusta.

Scores of lawmakers and others in attendance at the State House sported green clothing, displayed green flowers on lapels and greeted one another with “Top o’ the mornin”‘ salutations.

Rep. Gerald Bouffard, D-Lewiston, serenaded his colleagues with “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”

Several other representatives told Irish-influenced stories or volunteered tributes.

Rep. Thomas Kane, D-Saco, explained that he had acquired dual citizenship in Ireland and offered a session-closing prayer in honor of St. Patrick.

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