Speaking before the meeting, Stephen Farry stated: “Both parts of Ireland have benefited enormously from their relationship with the United States. Ireland is not part of its strategic foreign policy interests, but has a place of prominence due to the their huge social, economic and cultural, and US domestic politics.
“While it has not always been the case, the United States has on balance benefited the Northern Ireland peace process. Pressure from the Bush Administration in the aftermath contributed to delivering the first act of IRA decommissioning, and has also helped to create a focus away from limited definitions of ceasefires to support for the rule of law and signing up to policing.
“Private money has been put to mixed ends. For example, Community Restorative Justice schemes have been bankrolled from America and hence been allowed to escape formal regulation. On the other hand, generous Americans have recently stepped in to fund integrated schools when our own government failed to do so.
“In coming years, the demographics of America will change, and it will also look more and more away from Europe towards Latin America and Asia. Tensions may also arise from Ireland’s different position on many foreign policy issues facing the United States.
“Greater efforts will be required to maintain relationships. In particular, it is crucial that Northern Ireland political parties do not squander the opportunity presented to them to restore the political institutions.”