Gingrich Launches Ireland Visit
Aug. 08, 1998
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) _ House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Saturday began a weeklong survey of the Northern Ireland peace process, Ireland's economic success _ and his own Irish roots.
Accompanied by four Democrat and two Republican lawmakers, the Georgia Republican arrived in Dublin Saturday, saying that it was important for American politicians ``to demonstrate our joint commitment to the peace process.''
He said he'd talked Friday with President Clinton about the efforts to forge a new cross-community government of Catholics and Protestants for Northern Ireland.
Gingrich on Sunday will meet senior government ministers. On Tuesday he plans to help build a Belfast house for a U.S.-funded project called Habitat for Humanity, which helps poor people construct their own homes in international trouble spots.
He expects to meet David Trimble, the Protestant first minister of the new Assembly, and Gerry Adams, leader of the IRA-allied Sinn Fein party.
On Thursday and Friday, Gingrich heads to Ireland's remote northwest corner of Donegal, where his grandmother's O'Doherty clan and its genealogical research center are based.
``My grandmother always told me I had the gift of the blarney,'' he said. ``This will definitely be the most interesting part of the visit for me.''
Before leaving Ireland Aug. 15, Gingrich will visit factories of U.S. computer makers. The Irish Republic currently enjoys the best economic growth in western Europe.