Later today Hillary Clinton will be inducted in the Irish America Hall of Fame. The former first lady "is being honored for her work on behalf of the Irish peace process," according to Irish America magazine, the sponsor of the award.
“Hillary Rodham Clinton is one of the unsung heroes of the success of the Irish peace process,” Irish America publisher Niall O’Dowd told the New York Times when the award was announced.
But Hillary Clinton has in the past embellished the role she might have actually played in the Irish peace process.
For instance, in an interview with CNN in 2008, Clinton claimed, “You know, I was involved for 15 years in, you know, foreign policy and security policy. You know, I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland.” And in fact all throughout that failed presidential campaign, she made a similar claim. “Hillary Clinton has repeatedly cited her White House years as key to why she has the ability to serve as president from ‘Day One.’ Both she and her husband have pointed to her ‘independent’ role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland as an example of her foreign policy experience,” as the Washington Post noted.
But Clinton's claim of bringing about "peace" there was "fairly weak," according to factcheck.org. “Clinton has taken an interest in the Northern Ireland peace process, visiting the area seven times between 1995 and 2004 – making five of those trips as first lady. Clinton has said that she ‘helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.’ Of course, ‘helped’ is a fairly weak claim, one that could be made by nearly anyone who contributed in a way that didn’t actively hinder the process. Clinton was not directly involved in the peace negotiations that eventually led to the Good Friday Agreement. Her work focused on encouraging Irish women to take a more active role in the male-dominated peace talks. There is universal agreement that Clinton ‘helped.’ The dispute is about how much she helped.”
Indeed, even the lead U.S. negotiator said the former first lady was "not involved directly" in bringing about peace. “I just spoke to Senator George Mitchell, the Clinton administration’s leading Northern Ireland peace negotiator, who said that Hillary was ‘not involved directly’ in the diplomatic negotiations that led to the landmark April 1998 Good Fridayagreement on power-sharing,” wrote Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post in 2008.
David Trimble, the leader from Northern Ireland who was a co-recipient of the Noble prize for (actually) helping to bring about peace, called Clinton's claim a "wee bit silly." “David Trimble, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party in Northern Ireland who shared a Nobel Peace Prize for the settlement, last week told the Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper, that Clinton’s claim was ‘a wee bit silly.’ He said, ‘I don’t want to rain on the thing for her, but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player,’” as PolitiFact reported.
So why then is Hillary Clinton getting inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame? Well, it helps to look at the man behind the award, Niall O’Dowd, a financial supporter of Mrs. Clinton.
O'Dowd has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates over the years, including over $15,000 to the Clintons (including HillPac). And he was even on Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign finance committee.
O'Dowd was such a staunch support of Clinton last go around, he went after Barack Obama hard for his pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
“Last weekend, a Clinton fund-raiser said in a radio interview in Ireland that it was legitimate to raise questions about Obama’s ties to Wright, who he compared to David Duke. Niall O’Dowd, a Clinton finance committee member, also said that Obama has ‘used race where it suited him.’ ‘Barack Obama, you know, never once raised his voice to his pastor and said, ‘I think your language is quite extreme here, and I think you language is probably wrong,’ O’Dowd told RTE Radio. ‘Because let’s turn this around. If this was David Duke and he was preaching on behalf of, and Hillary Clinton was in the pew, there would be outrage about this. And there can’t be this double standard,’” the Wall Street Journal reported in 2008.