Belfast Telegraph

Clinton to give university address

Former US President Bill Clinton has urged Irish voters to examine which leader can best dig the country out of its economic mess.

Speaking at University College Dublin (UCD), Mr Clinton denounced the "clambering" and emotional issues that passes for political debate around the world.

People are frustrated and mad because they believe those who caused the crisis are still doing well while others lose their jobs or can't meet their mortgage repayments, he said.

Referring to the Irish economy in particular, he said people had to look seriously at who was the best candidate to lead the country back to recovery.

"If you're having an election the question should be: what should we do?" he said. "And then the next question should be who's more likely to do it?"

Suggesting strong links with the Irish Diaspora - who loved the country "warts and all" - could help in the economic recovery, Mr Clinton said Ireland had a great brand around the world. Ireland was the only country that has had a United Nations representative somewhere in the world every day since the organisation was founded, he said.

"I love this country and I want you to get through this mess," added Mr Clinton.

The former President was addressing students after being awarded the UCD Ulysses Medal - the university's highest accolade, named in honour of former student James Joyce.

Speaking in the William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium - named in his honour - he said there were only three things on which one could judge a politician's career.

These were if people were better off after you had finished, if children had a bright future, and whether things were coming apart or together at the end of that time of public service.

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