Leading Sinn Fein member Pat Doherty played an important role in the Cuban/American peace talks according to Kevin Cullen, columnist with The Boston Globe.
Doherty is now MP for West Tyrone in the British parliament and a frequent visitor to the US, where he has family. He was once named in parliament as a member of the IRA Army Council.
The Irish peace process was also studied by both sides and participants went to Dublin to be briefed on how it worked.
Cullen wrote:“Pat Doherty, who before he became a peacemaker in Northern Ireland was a big shot in the Irish Republican Army, went to Miami to talk to the Cuban-American community. Roelf Meyer, who was the chief negotiator for the white minority government at the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa, went to Cuba, explaining how he and the ANC’s Cyril Ramaphosa were able to negotiate a peaceful transfer of power. Some Cubans traveled to Dublin to learn how the British and the Irish brought a peaceful end to The Troubles.”
Another Irish and Irish American angle was provided in Boston by Tim Phillips the head of conflict resolution group, Beyond Conflict,
Phillips and other members of his group involved Cardinal Sean O’Malley from an early moment and they also traveled to Miami to talk to exile groups there, preparing the ground
“The idea was to talk about reconciliation,” Phillips said.
Cullen wrote “They organized meetings and conferences to talk about letting go of the past, about the idea that, as Nelson Mandela once told the chief of staff of the IRA, you don’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies.”
Phillips also called leading Irish American Jack Connors, who was close to Cardinal O’Malley, when it became evident there was real hope of progress.
Phillips stated that O’Malley, who travels to Cuba regularly, was keen on the idea and lobbied the pope directly.
Cullen wrote, “When O’Malley went to Cuba in August to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ordination of Havana Archbishop Jaime Ortega, he spoke with Cuban officials and helped achieve the settlement.