Thursday 18 January 2018

Liz O'Donnell: Mitchell -- a genius of compromise, who mastered impossible for peace

Senator George J.Mitchell
Senator George J.Mitchell
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

Senator George Mitchell was in Dublin last week to accept three awards. The first was the Business & Finance Award for outstanding contribution to Ireland, an event that drew over 1,000 people to the Convention Centre. The second was when President Higgins awarded him the Distinguished Services medal, the highest civilian honour. The third was the conferring of an honorary Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil honoris causa), the highest award that can be bestowed by DCU.

All three events were memorable in that, perhaps for the first time, large numbers of Irish people actually saw and met the veteran senator who has done so much for our country. These awards were in recognition of his outstanding efforts in the Northern Irish peace process culminating in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Having worked under his chairmanship, I remain in awe of his unique political and judicial skills. A stellar career as a lawyer, judge, Attorney General and US senator for Maine equipped him perfectly for the unenviable task of brokering agreement to end the protracted conflict in Northern Ireland.

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