Diplomacy was the order of the day at last week’s meeting of Lisburn Probus Club.
Visitor and guest speaker at the meeting was Gregory Burton, the US Consul General in Northern Ireland.
In welcoming Mr Burton, the Probus Club President, Fred Hall, referred to the Consul’s extensive experience as a representative of the US Foreign service in different parts of the world.
Mr Burton began his speech to the Probus members by emphasising the sense of privilege he felt at having had the opportunity to be posted to NI.
He explained that the consulate in NI was actually the second oldest amongst US consulates operating throughout the world.
In his three years’ service here, Mr Burton explained that he had become aware of the many “kinship ties” linking NI and USA.
“There are many examples of people from NI who played a foundation role in the history of the US,” he said.
“During WW2, as well, Northern Ireland had a strategic importance with some 300,000 servicemen based here at different times,” he continued.
Mr Burton also pointed to the US role in NI affairs in more recent times.
“US has had a role in facilitating negotiations and fostering progress in the peace process,” the Consul stated.
“The role has been extended to include support for economic matters,” he added.
The Consul’s visit left Probus members very well-informed on the links between NI and USA.
In concluding his visit, Mr Burton entered into a discussion with members on future relations between the two countries.