Fionnan Sheahan: Clinton departs on upbeat note amid call for even closer links
Hillary Clinton is making her final official visit to Ireland as US Secretary of State. Over the past two decades, former US President Bill Clinton and his wife have endeared themselves to the Irish public through their intense involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process and desire to connect with ordinary people on both sides of the border.
During President Clinton's two terms in office, he made three trips to the country and was constantly greeted by cheering crowds – most memorably when they turned on the Christmas lights in Belfast in 1995, a year after the first IRA ceasefire.
On her visit to Dublin yesterday – for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial council, hosted by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore – her fondness for the country was evident, and her message to the people reeling in the week of a tough Budget was unequivocally upbeat.