Former Irish prime minister Albert Reynolds, who
served as his country's chief executive from 1992-94, will speak Friday, Nov.
7, at 4 p.m. in the Goizueta Business School's Boynton Auditorium
on "Ireland: Gateway to Europe, Bridge to America."
has experienced extraordinary economic, social and political development
during the past 15 years, and many credit Reynolds as one of the
key architects of that transformation. He will discuss Ireland's
economy--which some call "the Celtic Tiger"--and then participate
in a panel discussion featuring Donald Keough, former president
of The Coca-Cola Company and current chairman of Allen & Co.,
and Tom Noonan, chair and CEO of Internet Security Systems.
someone had predicted that Ireland, which in 1990 had a 15 percent
unemployment rate and the poorest economic record in Europe, would
in the year 2003 be expected to have the highest growth rate in
the developed world, that individual would have been called a lunatic," said
James Flannery, director of the W.B. Yeats Foundation (which is
sponsoring the event along with the Atlanta chapter of the Ireland
Chamber of Commerce-U.S.A.) and Winship Professor of the Arts and
to Flannery, Ireland's average rate of export growth since 1994
is the highest among the members of the European Union, with two-thirds
of those exports in services and high tech areas: computer hardware,
software and pharmaceuticals.
to his term as prime minister, Reynolds was minister both for industry
and commerce and for finance, and he was involved in setting the
policies that led directly to the "Celtic Tiger." A highly successful
businessman, Reynolds' promotion of education, particularly in
computer literacy, and his development of government-business partnerships
with incentives for foreign investment attracted a large number
of major international companies to set up branches in Ireland.
perhaps Mr. Reynolds' biggest achievement while prime minister
was the Northern Irish peace process, where he played a crucial
role in securing the direct involvement of John Major, [former]
prime minister of Great Britain, and former President Bill Clinton," Flannery
that no progress toward peace could be made through a policy of
exclusion, Reynolds persuaded Major and Clinton to invite Sinn
Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), to
join the peace discussion.
remains hopeful for a lasting peace in Northern Ireland, but continues
to resist pressures from the British government as well as Unionist
politicians in Northern Ireland, who are trying to force the IRA
to decommission its weapons before the Northern Ireland Assembly
is no historical precedent in Ireland for decommissioning," Reynolds
said. "It's symbolic of surrender, and we didn't have a surrender--we
had a cease-fire."
also noted that rebel forces in countries like Bosnia and South
Africa were never required to turn in arms before talks began. "Those
conditions were to be part of the negotiations," according to Reynolds. "Sinn
Fein and the IRA have had issues of historic discrimination that
they are trying to address. In every decade of this century there
has been some form of rebellion against second-class citizenship
and poor treatment of minorities by colonial governments."
Yeats Foundation also is cosponsoring with the Ancient Order of
Hibernians a lecture by Martin McGuinness, chief administrator
for Sinn Fein during the peace negotiations leading up to the Good
Friday Agreement of March 1998 and former minister of education
in the Northern Ireland Assembly. His talk about "Education and
Peace in Northern Ireland" will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 12,
at 8 p.m. in 208 White Hall.
talks are free and open to the public. For further information,
call 404-727-6180 or 404-727-6464.