Former US President Bill Clinton referenced old Irish folk song Danny Boy during a speech about the “global rise of tribalism”.
President Clinton was speaking in Dublin City University where he was given an honorary doctorate.
He spoke about the second verse of Danny Boy “because it reminds you that you can be very big, very famous, very rich, very powerful, very able to push other people around, to hold them down, to lift them up. But what you have left is wondering if anyone will ever say ‘I love you’.”
It has been interpreted as thinly veiled jibe at President Trump for his actions since being elected as US leader.
The lyrics in the second verse of Danny Boy read:
“But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
“Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
“’Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
“Oh Danny boy oh Danny boy I love you so.”
President Clinton was addressing a crowd which included former Irish President Mary McAleese and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
Following the British decision to leave the European Union, there have been similar discussions about the levels of immigration and national security in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.
It has led to an uncertain future across the globe and Mr Clinton said each one represented a reaction against diversity.
“The world again is awash with the very thing we were trying to get around in the Good Friday accord. In every place there was a nationalist party which said that others are dragging us down.
“Given the economic inequalities and the rapid pace of social change, all the upheaval, all that’s going on all over the world and here in Europe, people are reassessing whether what we have in common is more important than our differences. That’s really what the Brexit vote is all about.”
The former President said he was receiving the honorary degree because he had done “whatever I could” to make peace happen in Northern Ireland.
President Clinton said. “It’s minority rights and individual rights and the rule of law and the absence of violence as a tool of political advancement.
“Shared decision-making, shared economic benefit and special ties to the Republic of Ireland as well as to the United Kingdom. There had never been any peace agreement exactly like it before. It broke like a thundercloud across the world.”
To find out about the history of the song Danny Boy visit irishmusicdaily.com.
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