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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 12 January, 2003, 18:23 GMT
Congresswomen in fact-finding visit
US Congresswomen in Belfast in fact finding mission
The women arrived in Belfast on Sunday
A high-profile delegation of US Congresswomen have arrived in Northern Ireland on a fact-finding mission.

The delegation arrived in the province on Sunday at the start of a five-day trip that will see them making visits across the province and meeting local politicians.

The group is holding talks with all the local parties, and is expected to meet with Security Minister Jane Kennedy and trade union leaders.

The delegation are also due to meet Belfast's Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Alex Maskey.

This visit enables us to reinforce partnerships, and to involve more women in leading roles in these partnerships

Bronagh Hinds
Queen's Institute for Governance,

The visit has been organised jointly by the Institute of Governance at Queen's University Belfast and the Northern Ireland Women's European Platform alongside the US-based International Women's Democracy Centre.

The aim of the visit is to provide the group with the opportunity to meet a wide cross-section of opinion and experience.

Barbara Ferris, of the International Women's Democracy Centre, said the delegates were excited about their visit.

"The United States has long held a commitment to the Northern Ireland political process.

"Now, in these times of uncertainty on the international stage, the successful search for peace is more important than ever," she said.

'Partnerships'

The group of influential women was well briefed on the political situation in Northern Ireland, she added, but wanted to see for themselves.

Bronagh Hinds, of the Queen's Institute for Governance, added that the visit was "proof of the US body politic's continued commitment to Northern Ireland.

"This visit enables us to reinforce partnerships between Northern Ireland and the United States, and to involve more women in leading roles in these partnerships," she said.

Leading the delegation is Congresswoman Carolyn McCartney from New York, who is no stranger to personal tragedy as a result of violence.

She entered politics following the murder of her husband by a gunman who shot randomly into a commuter train in 1993.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy:
"A lot of times women don't feel they can do something especially get involved in politics"
See also:

13 Mar 02 | N Ireland
06 Feb 02 | N Ireland
04 Oct 01 | N Ireland
07 Sep 00 | N Ireland
Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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