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Mrs. Clinton honors late Catholic peaceworker in Northern Ireland

October 31, 1997

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ Hillary Rodham Clinton urged politicians in Northern Ireland today to follow the common sense example of a Belfast woman and sort out their troubles over ``lots of tea.″

Mrs. Clinton, in Belfast to speak on Northern Ireland’s peace negotiations, paid tribute to Joyce McCartan, a Catholic woman who lost 11 members of her extended family to violence in Northern Ireland.

The first lady once joined McCartan at the Lamplighter, a coffee shop the woman founded to encourage Protestant and Catholic women to socialize together. McCartan died just months after meeting Mrs. Clinton in 1995.

``We would never have arrived at this hopeful moment without the countless acts of courage and faith of people like the woman we honor today,″ Mrs. Clinton said in a speech at the University of Ulster.

She drew laughter and applause when she pulled out the teapot from her visit with McCartan.

``As you can see, it is a very ordinary stainless-steel teapot, one found in many Belfast kitchens. But as I told Joyce during our conversation, this teapot was so much better at keeping the tea hot than the ones I had at the White House,″ she said.

Like the teapot, she said, McCartan and other Northern Ireland women were primarily concerned with practical results, not the ``posturing″ and ``speechifying″ of Northern Ireland’s male-dominated political scene.

While they may go to different churches on Sunday, Protestant and Catholic women were united in praying that their children would come home safely from school each day, Mrs. Clinton noted.

``I stand in awe of women like Joyce McCartan,″ she said. ``Women who endured their own personal tragedies and find the strength to go on _ but more than that, to reach out and try to prevent the conditions from occurring that caused them such heartbreak.″

Mrs. Clinton later met privately with a group that included former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, appointed by Britain and Ireland last year to oversee the peace negotiations.

She was serenaded by a Scottish bagpiper, who concluded with ``Happy Birthday″ in a nod to her 50th birthday last week.

The first lady also attended a conference of Northern Ireland youth, where she was expected to meet a small group of teen-agers.

Mrs. Clinton arrived Thursday night in Dublin, the capital of the neighboring Irish Republic, for a reception at Dublin Castle. Her trip comes 23 months after she and President Clinton visited both parts of Ireland after cease-fires by the IRA and pro-British paramilitary groups in the British-ruled north.

The Irish Republican Army abandoned that truce in February 1996 but called another one in July, making it possible for the IRA-allied Sinn Fein party to join other parties in talks on Northern Ireland’s future. Mitchell is chairman of the talks.

But IRA dissidents on Thursday signaled their determination to reverse that progress, launching a failed bomb attack on a government building in Londonderry, the north’s second-largest city. Only the detonator went off and nobody was injured.

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