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Bill Flynn's key contribution to peace in Ireland

Bill Flynn, who has died in New York at the age of 92, made an enormous contribution towards the cause of peace and reconciliation in Ireland for almost four decades.

Mr Flynn was a hugely successful business figure who, after becoming the first Irish-American chairman of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, helped to create the climate in which the paramilitary ceasefires of 1994 and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement became possible.

He concentrated on patient and measured behind the scenes lobbying and he was able to build up a strong bond of trust with key politicians on both sides of the Atlantic during crucial periods of our recent history.

Mr Flynn had a particularly close relationship with nationalists, but also understood the symbolic importance of accepting a CBE from the British government, and the many tributes which have followed his death demonstrated the effectiveness of his role.

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