Wednesday, February 6, 2008

PEACE | Ireland Bond Proposal

Hillary Clinton with Irish-born professor Louise Richardson
 (R), a terrorism scholar and the new Vice Chancellor of
Oxford University
With Hillary Clinton maintaining her position at the front of the field of U.S. presidential candidates, it's worth taking looking again at her proposal last year for a new bond to raise money for the Northern Ireland economy.

As reported in the Belfast Telegraph, she urged Northern Ireland leaders in Washington on June 27, 2007 to consider floating a bond to allow Northern Ireland to obtain greater international funds for local companies seeking to go global. The bonds would be sold to international investors.

An Ireland Peace Bond was proposed by the New York City Comptroller in March 1995, when the issuer was envisioned as a multi-country development bank as opposed to, in Clinton's proposal, the Northern Ireland Government.

It is interesting to note that Eamon de Valera obtained crucial American money as a leader of Éire. In 1919-1920 he came to the United States to sell bonds issued in January 1920 to Irish-Americans and raised $5.5 million, far more than the Dáil of the new Irish Republic expected.

Of this money, $500,000 was devoted to the American presidential campaign in 1920, which helped de Valera gain wider U.S. support. Questions were later raised about $1.5 million of proceeds spent in the United States and how much reached Ireland. Some of the Éire bond certificates are in museums because they were not repaid, something that will surely not be held against the Northern Ireland Government.