Belfast Telegraph

Peacemakers Clinton and Mitchell are nominated for the freedom of Belfast

By Suzanne Breen

A special meeting of Belfast City Council will be held on Tuesday to discuss giving the freedom of the city to former US President Bill Clinton and Senator George Mitchell.

The two American politicians who played key roles in the peace process are expected in Belfast for a series of events to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement next month.

They are being nominated by SDLP council group leader Tim Attwood.

The council wasn't due to meet until the second week of April but a special meeting is being called so a decision on the men's nomination can be made and, if approved, arrangements put in place for the award in advance of their visit.

The Strategic Policy and Resources (SP&R) Committee will meet on Tuesday morning to discuss the proposal.

A special full meeting of the council will then be held in the afternoon to approve the committee's minutes.

City Hall sources said they were confident that the proposal will receive cross-party support.

Senator Mitchell and President Clinton are expected to attend the 'Building Peace: 20 Years on from The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement' conference at Queen's University, Belfast on April 10. Senator Mitchell is speaking at the Peace and Beyond conference in the city from April 10-12.

Both men have also been invited to an event by the newly formed Goliath Trust to launch its campaign to tackle educational underachievement by children in disadvantaged loyalist areas.

The two council meetings on Tuesday will also discuss the report by former Northern Ireland Ombudsman Tom Frawley into the council's controversial storage of bonfire material last summer.

The report has already been given to the group leaders of the main parties at City Hall.

It examines the council's gathering and storing of more than 3,000 pallets for two controversial loyalist bonfires and the subsequent theft of the material.

Belfast Telegraph


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