Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Monday, 12 October 2009 10:43 UK

Hillary's history in NI

Martin McGuinness, Hillary Clinton and Peter Robinson
Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson greeted Hillary Clinton at Stormont

When she applied for the world's top job - president of the United States of America - Hillary Clinton was accused of overstating her contribution to peacemaking in Northern Ireland.

As US Secretary of State, she faces the formidable task of dealing with a war in Afghanistan and a nuclear stand-off in Iran.

The fact that she will still make time to knock heads together in Belfast, is a sign of her commitment to the peace process.

BBC News looks back at the Clintons' love affair with Northern Ireland.

  • November 1995: Hillary Clinton first came to Belfast 14 years ago, when she accompanied her husband Bill, the first serving US president to visit Northern Ireland. America's first couple were mobbed by well wishers in the Shankill and Falls Roads, before switching on Belfast's Christmas lights in front of a crowd of thousands at the city hall.
  • October 1997: Mrs Clinton returned to Belfast on her own, this time to pay tribute to the role of women and young people in the peace process. She gave a lecture at the University of Ulster during her 12 hour trip.
  • September 1998: In contrast to the euphoria which surrounded the Clintons' first visit, the couple's next trip had a very different tone. They made their way to Omagh in 1998, just weeks after a Real IRA bomb ripped through the town, killing 29 people and unborn twins.
  • May 1999: Again unaccompanied by her husband, the First Lady made a two-day trip to Northern Ireland and the Republic, reiterating America's support for the peace process. However, she acknowledged there had been some setbacks, notably the murder of solicitor Rosemary Nelson, when she met the then First Minister David Trimble and Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon.
  • December 2000: The Clintons, accompanied by their daughter Chelsea, returned to Ireland for what would be Bill Clinton's final visit as president. Their itinerary included stops in Dublin, Dundalk and Belfast.
  • May 2001: Less than six months later, Bill Clinton was back in Belfast to be conferred with an honorary degree from Queen's University, in tribute to his role in the Northern Ireland peace process during his presidency.
  • June 2002: The plaudits continued as the former president arrived in Enniskillen to officially open the Clinton Peace Centre, a new £3m development dedicated to his international peace efforts.
  • August 2004: The couple dropped in on the Enniskillen centre during a tour to promote Bill Clinton's autobiography. They were later booed by spectators, who were disappointed when they realised the couple had left the centre without coming to meet them.


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