Secretary Clinton spoke today at the State Department at the U.S.-Northern Ireland Economic Conference. The Secretary said, "...for a long time, when Americans, and particularly American businesses, heard the words 'Northern Ireland,' the first thing that came to mind was not investment opportunities. And it really froze the potential for development despite the work ethic and the achievements of the people themselves.
"But recently, thanks to the courage and hard work on behalf of the people on every -- from every community, from every community and every part of Northern Ireland, now when people say Northern Ireland, the words that come to mind are 'reconciliation, hope, and opportunity.' And people are looking to you and seeing a potential for their own futures.
"And through conferences like these and the conversations and collaborations that they lead to, people are understanding the economic potential of Northern Ireland. It has a prime location; two world-class research institutions; an educated, competitive workforce; a superior telecommunications infrastructure; a supportive policy environment -- and some might even say that the population speaks English -- sort of. All key ingredients for the rise of new businesses as people are expanding their global reach.
"But while this is a good story, too few people have heard it. And we have brought you here today to change that. To spark a conversation between the U.S. business community and Northern Ireland's leaders about what is possible, how to create partnerships for investment that can pay off for both people, that can be quite profitable, and in addition, strengthen the foundation of peace and stability.
"Because fostering economic growth in Northern Ireland will do more than provide much-needed paychecks. It will do more than open new markets. We're meeting at the State Department, rather than the Commerce Department or the offices of the United States Trade Representative, because a stronger economy in Northern Ireland will help secure a lasting peace. And peace in Northern Ireland is a bedrock foreign policy priority for the United States."
You can read the full transcript of her remarks here.