McAleese Urges for Peace
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 02:09
“I really appreciate what you said. I think personalization of politics is a great asset,” she said, before asking what an American can do to help in Northern Ireland. McAleese offered the suggestion of open dialogue.
“What we need to do is probe the mind of the other through conversation,” McAleese said. “To Protestants, words have set meanings. They want X and mean X, but Catholics worry that could mean Y. So they offer A, or if not B, or maybe C.”
Irish folksinger Tommy Sans, former neighbor of McAleese, gave a surprise performance of “Down by the Lagan Side” after the lecture. The song is about walking together with others down by the Lagan River which runs through Belfast. “And do you not remember? / We once walked side by side,” Sans sang. “The past it has been taken / But the future’s yours and mine.”
In her work as a visiting scholar, McAleese will address undergraduates in classes and perform lectures for the wider community. She will also continue her work on a doctorate in canon law from the Gregorian University in Rome, the world’s oldest Jesuit University.
At the event, Hachey also honored Robert O’Neill, the head of the Burns Library, who will retire at the end of the fall semester after 28 years overseeing the library, which has become an important center for Irish Studies research during his tenure. Hachey also presented a gift to O’Neill.
“No gift could adequately express his contribution to this University,” he said.