Our Shared Kinship with the Irish People I Have Been Honored to Serve as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland
Rooney, Dan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)
It was a cool July day in 2009 when I arrived at the Aras an Uachtarain in Dublin to present my credentials as ambassador of the United States to Mary McAleese, who was then the president of Ireland. She welcomed me warmly and spoke of the importance of the relationship between the United States and Ireland and the special role the United States should play in the world. Hers was the first of a hundred thousand welcomes my wife Patricia and I would receive here in Ireland over the next three and a half years.
As I resign my ambassadorship today, I think back to my arrival in Ireland, which was starting to feel the effects of the global economic crisis that summer. Over the next three years I would travel to every county on the island -- both North and South. I have met with people from every part of Ireland and from every walk of life and developed a deeper respect for the determination of the Irish people to succeed in the face of hardship. Irish generosity and warmth have not wavered and President Barack Obama has told me many times that one of his favorite overseas visits was his time spent in Ireland -- in his ancestral village of Moneygall and on Dublin's College Green.
Our embassy has also reached out to the new Irish -- those who have made Ireland home in the last 20 years. We held an entrepreneurship conference here in Dublin designed to advance the social and economic integration of minorities. Advancing respect for diversity and cultural differences is an American value and one that I have worked to spread.
Protecting the vulnerable is a shared American and Irish value and our two countries have worked hand-in-hand to address the international shame of hunger and malnutrition. I have been encouraged by the partnership we have developed with social entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations to address problems here and around the world.
Despite the global headwinds, the U.S.-Irish economic relationship has continued to strengthen over the last three years. American companies have invested $190 billion in Ireland and are playing a vital role in helping the Irish economy create jobs.
To underscore the importance of the economic ties that bind our countries, I have held annual conferences to advance cooperation in the renewable energy sphere, to support U. …