Belfast Telegraph

A sure sign that we're no longer a hot topic in America

Adrian Rutherford

A MEMBER of the Republican Party, Dana Rohrabacher is the US Representative for California's 48th congressional district and chairs the Europe, Eurasia and emerging threats subcommittee of the House of Representatives' committee on foreign affairs.

But then most of us should have already known that.

Because if we didn't, are we really in any position to poke fun at his apparent lack of detailed knowledge on Northern Ireland?

Stretching along the Pacific coastline, California's 48th district is a long way from here.

So should we be surprised that Mr Rohrabacher, or indeed any other middle-ranking member of the US administration, may not be fully up to speed with the various nuances of Irish politics?

Much has changed from the Clinton era, when Northern Ireland was a big issue in Washington. With ongoing tensions across the globe, American priorities now lie elsewhere.

And given our sensitivity over how we describe ourselves, you have to feel some degree of sympathy for Mr Rohrabacher wanting to simplify things by referring to the Republic – or is that the South or the 26 Counties – as regular Ireland.

Texas Congressman Randy Weber put it bluntly in his opening remarks when he said: "I'm glad to hear that our colleagues are experts."

The reality is most Americans don't know much about Northern Ireland, and probably care less.

Belfast Telegraph


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