About the Author: Declan Kelly serves as U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland.
Secretary Clinton hosted the U.S.-Northern Ireland Economic Conference Tuesday at the State Department, and, with an estimated $1 trillion of market capitalization in the room, we made the case for underpinning the peace process in Northern Ireland through ongoing trade and investment.
We had high-level executives from several U.S. companies, some already invested in Northern Ireland and others looking at the potential of new ventures there, discussing the advantages that Northern Ireland offers companies with an eye towards Europe. This conference was about more than just the positive impact investment would have on Northern Ireland, but also about how exports follow investment, and how these initiatives are good for the people of both Northern Ireland and the United States.
As the Secretary made clear in her remarks, peace in Northern Ireland is a bedrock foreign policy priority for the United States. The conference this week was another indication of her commitment to the people of Northern Ireland. My role, as the Economic Envoy at the State Department, is to support the goal of peace by working with our government counterparts to increase economic opportunity in the region, where the status quo has shifted from violence and fear to security and stability. Dissident violence still exists, but is not a deterrent. Prosperity goes hand-in-hand with peace and progress, and the very small few who are stuck in the past cannot stand in the way and will not be allowed to do so.