Clinton will meet Ahern, Blair and victims of Omagh bomb

 

President Clinton will meet the Taoiseach, the British Prime Minister and Northern Ireland politicians as well as victims of the Omagh bombing during his three-day visit to Ireland which begins tomorrow.

He will briefly meet Mr Tony Blair when he arrives at Belfast's Aldergrove Airport shortly before 8.30 a.m. tomorrow. Forty minutes later he will be greeted at Stormont by Northern Ireland's First Minister, Mr David Trimble, and Deputy First Minister, Mr Seamus Mallon, before having a private meeting with Assembly members.

At 11.15 a.m. he will meet more politicians as well as community leaders at Belfast's Waterfront Hall before delivering a speech at noon. Mr Trimble and Mr Mallon will respond to the speech.

He will visit the site for the new west Belfast campus of the University of Ulster at Springvale in the early afternoon before travelling to Omagh, where he is expected to meet relatives of the dead and victims of the bombing at the leisure centre. He will also visit the scene of the explosion.

He will then visit Armagh, make a further speech and depart for Dublin where he will spend the night at the US ambassador's residence in Phoenix Park.

On Friday he will meet the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, for talks at Government Buildings. He will go to a reception at the Royal College of Surgeons before attending a lunch hosted by Mr Ahern.

In the afternoon he will visit the headquarters of the US multinational computer company, Gateway, to make a speech on the theme of peace and security. In the late afternoon and early evening he is to have meetings at the ambassador's residence with embassy staff before flying to Shannon at 8.15 p.m. He will be driven to Adare Manor to stay overnight.

An estimated 30,000 people will crowd into Limerick on Saturday morning when President Clinton will receive the Freedom of the City at 11 a.m. and make what is described as a keynote speech from a platform erected at the junction of O'Connell Street and Bedford Row. He will be joined on the platform by the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, and the Mayor, Councillor Joe Harrington.

At a press conference given yesterday by the Garda, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Limerick Corporation, it was stated that all the city centre bounded by Henry Street, Sarsfield Street, William Street, Catherine Street and Mallow Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 6.15 p.m. on Friday until after 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Later on Saturday President Clinton will record his weekly message for US radio stations before going to Ballybunion to play golf with the former Tanaiste and Labour Party leader, Mr Dick Spring, the Minister for Finance, Mr McCreevy, and the club captain, Mr Brian McCarthy.

He will leave Ballybunion at 8.30 p.m. to travel home to Washington DC from Shannon.

President Clinton will be accompanied by his wife, Hillary, who will arrive in Belfast today before her husband, to address the Vital Voices women's conference.