Bill Clinton to receive freedom of Belfast on Agreement anniversary

Former US President will receive the award at a ceremony on April 10th in Ulster Hall

George Mitchell, Bertie Ahern and Bill Clinton pictures in 1999. Photograph:  Larry Downing/Reuters

George Mitchell, Bertie Ahern and Bill Clinton pictures in 1999. Photograph: Larry Downing/Reuters

 

Former president of the United States Bill Clinton and former US senator George Mitchell are to receive the Freedom of Belfast for their role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Belfast City Council will present the two men with the honour on April 10th, the 20th anniversary of the signing the Belfast Agreement in 1998, at a ceremony in Ulster Hall.

Before the ceremony, Mr Clinton and Mr Mitchell will attend a peace conference at Queen’s University Belfast.

Mr Clinton will also visit Dublin on April 9th, where he is set to deliver a speech at University College Dublin.

Lord Mayor of Belfast councillor Nuala McAllister said the two politicians’ contributions to peace “cannot be underestimated”, and “both have earned their place in our history as peacemakers”.

‘Huge benefits’

The Alliance councillor, who was nine years old when the Belfast Agreement was signed, said the peace deal “brought huge benefits for my generation, and we want to see a sustained peace within a truly inclusive city”.

Councillors voted to confer the two politicians with the honour following a proposal from SDLP councillor Tim Attwood.

Mr Clinton and Mr Mitchell will be the 83rd and 84th recipients of the Freedom of Belfast City.

Mr Clinton served as US president from 1993 to 2001, during which time he strongly supported the peace process to end the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Mr Mitchell served as US envoy to Northern Ireland from 1995 to 2001, and chaired the peace talks that led to the Belfast Agreement.