Obama in Northern Ireland for G8, addresses peace process

A lot of media coverage came rolling out of Northern Ireland as U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders gathered for the G8 summit June 17-18. First Lady Michelle Obama and her two daughters also visited the Republic of Ireland.

Barack Obama

There were plenty of security concerns before the summit. Who could imagine such an international gathering in Northern Ireland in past decades? While the two-day event was a costly inconvenience to residents of nearby Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, there was no violence.

A bomb was found near the Lough Erne resort hosting the summit, but it turned out to be a remnant from a World War II mortar range.

Links to some of the best Ireland- and Northern Ireland-related stories follow below:

  • “Northern Ireland has languished out of the headlines and a gradual erosion of the peace process has taken place,” writes Irish Central founder Niall O’Dowd. “That is why the visit of President Obama is so vital.”
  • Michelle Obama, Bono and families lunch at Dalkey pub.
  • Significant progress has been made in the 15 years since the U.S.-brokered Good Friday Accords, including a Catholic-Protestant government and the disarmament of the IRA and outlawed Protestant groups responsible for most of the 3,700 death toll. But tearing down Belfast’s nearly 100 “peace lines” — barricades of brick, steel and barbed wire that divide neighborhoods, roads and even one Belfast playground — is still seen by many as too dangerous. Obama cited that playground in his speech, lauding an activist whose work led to the opening of a pedestrian gate in the fence.
  • Obama: “If there’s one thing on which Democrats and Republicans in America wholeheartedly agree, it’s that we strongly support a peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland. … We will keep working closely with leaders in Stormont, and Dublin, and Westminster to support your political progress.”
  • The Irish Times reports U.S. President Barack Obama to press for renewed efforts to end community division in the north.
  • Great headline on security-related story from the BBC: Lock down on Lough Erne.