Cheektowaga, NY— Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), a member of the House Ad-Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs, returned to Buffalo after spending four days in Ireland and the United Kingdom in bilateral meetings regarding recent developments in the Northern Ireland peace process.
“I was honored to represent the United States at this important moment in the Irish peace process,” Higgins said. “My colleagues and I went to Ireland and the United Kingdom to focus international intention on the stalled negotiations and to build momentum for the fulfillment of the Good Friday Accords. While we met with leaders from different nationalities, political parties, and religious faiths, each discussion was filled with hope and the common belief that lasting peace can finally reach all residents of Northern Ireland.”
During a historic week in Northern Ireland marked by the confirmation announcement of the IRA weapons decommissioning, Congressman Higgins, accompanied by Congressman James T. Walsh (R-25th/NY) and Congressman Tim Murphy (R-18th/PA), met with Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain, US Ambassador to Ireland James Kenny, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Tuttle, and the leadership of each major political parties involved in the peace process.
During a press conference at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Congressman Higgins announced that Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein President and Member of Parliament, will visit Buffalo on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2006 after attending ceremonies with fellow Irish leaders in Washington, DC.
“Gerry Adams has dedicated over 30 years of his life to the completion of a stable and democratic peace settlement in Northern Ireland,” Higgins said. “All residents of Western New York can be proud that Gerry chose to come to Buffalo—not New York, not Boston, not Chicago, but Buffalo—on the St. Patrick’s Day following the historic IRA decision to lay down their arms, a decision for which his leadership was largely responsible. Gerry’s choice to visit to Buffalo is another indication that a restored sense of confidence is sweeping our city—confidence in ourselves, confidence in our community, and confidence in our region’s reemergence as a great American urban center.”