Saturday 21 October 2017

We must not allow the US-Irish ties that bind weaken

Senator George Mitchell and Trina Vargo.
Senator George Mitchell and Trina Vargo.

Trina Vargo

WHEN I created the US-Ireland Alliance in 1998, it was with a very big underlying question – do we care about a modern and evolving relationship between the United States and the island of Ireland, or will the relationship be relegated to shamrocks, leprechauns and St Patrick's Day parades?

The George J Mitchell Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships in America, is under threat because, while everyone loves it, no one wants to pay for it. That should give pause.

The Mitchell Scholarship, which sends the top American graduate students to universities in Ireland and Northern Ireland, has done more to enhance the profile of these universities than any other scholarship programme. The universities know this and have been great partners. They have many paying American students as a result of the attention given to 'Mitchell' in the US.

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