Irish blast Clinton's foreign policy claim

March 9, 2008 at 8:18 AM

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, March 9 (UPI) -- David Trimble, who helped broker peace in Northern Ireland said Sen. Hillary Clinton's role in those negotiations was that of a cheerleader, not a participant.

Presidential contender Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., told CNN Wednesday that she "helped bring peace to Northern Ireland" as foreign policy experience becomes the latest issue in the Democratic presidential race.

"I don't know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill (Clinton) going around," Trimble said, adding, "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," The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Conall McDevitt, who served as the chief negotiator during the Good Friday Agreement talks that ended the conflict between England and Northern Ireland, said there was "no contact with her" during the negotiating processes.

McDevitt said Clinton played a supporting role following the signing of the agreement.

"So in a classic woman politicky sort of way I think she was active ... She was certainly investing some time, no doubt about it. Whether she was involved on the issue side I think probably not," McDevitt said.

The Clinton campaign responded to the statements saying they were "quite surprised that anyone would suggest that Hillary Clinton did not perform important foreign policy work as First Lady."

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