The name George Mitchell is synonymous with the Irish peace process.
The former senator from Maine was tapped as President Clinton's economic advisor on Ireland and headed up the first ever White House- sponsored Economic Conference on Ireland in May 1995. In June 1995, Mitchell took on the monumental task of co-chairing, and later chairing, the all-party talks which ultimately led to the Good Friday Agreement.
"Senator Mitchell's role was indispensable to the success of the negotiation process and to the securing of the Good Friday Agreement. There can be no doubt that without his patience and stamina the outcome could have been very different," said Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. On the Unionist side, David Kerr, press secretary to David Trimble, said, "I don't think anybody else could have done what he did, it was a remarkable political balancing act."
Mitchell, whose grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the 1800s, was first elected to the Senate in 1980.
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