Clinton visits Enniskillen to open peace centre

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Former US president Mr Bill Clinton returned to Northern Ireland today for the dedication of a new peace centre bearing his name.

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Former US president, Mr Bill Clinton
Mr Clinton opened the centre in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh on the site of the 1987 Remembrance Sunday bombing.

The IRA killed 11 people and injured 63 more gathered beside the town's cenotaph for that year's service. A 12th victim, Ronnie Hill, died in December 2000 after spending 13 years in a coma.

The Clinton Centre has been named in tribute to the ex-president's efforts for international peace and in recognition of his special role in helping the divided Northern Ireland community towards the Good Friday Agreement.

He was to be joined by First Minister Mr David Trimble and Deputy First Minister Mr Mark Durkan. However, Mr Trimble has travelled to London to meet British prime minister Mr Tony Blair over the ongoing sectarian clashes in Belfast.

Mr Clinton last visited Enniskillen in May last year, when he met families bereaved in the bombing and unveiled an inscription on a memorial window of the Peace Centre, which is dedicated to the victims of the blast.

As Mr Clinton arrived at the building, police forcibly removed one of those injured in the bombing from the entrance to the centre and frogmarched him across the road.

Mr Jim Dixon was protesting that victims of the bombing had no role in the establishment of the centre.

"Victims have had no input, but they are using the victims to get money for it," he claimed.

After leaving Enniskillen, Mr Clinton will travel to Dublin for discussions with business leaders about the financing of the Clinton Library in Arkansas.

He will then play a round of golf with senior business executives before receiving an international achievement award for his role in the peace process.

He will leave the following morning after a meeting with the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern.

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