Saturday 21 April 2018

Robert Schmuhl: From the White House to the CIA – the Irish who now run America

General Martin E Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington
General Martin E Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington

During the recent White House ceremony celebrating Irish and American connections, President Barack Obama made a point to emphasise the heritage of several key members of his second-term administration.

"My new chief of staff is a McDonough," the president said. "My national security adviser is a Donilon. Our new CIA director is a Brennan. My head speechwriter is a Keenan. And Joe Biden has very kindly agreed to stay on as Irishman in chief."

Since it's generally acknowledged that Obama likes to keep power in close proximity to his Oval Office – cabinet members, it's said, take direction from the White House – the Irish-American influence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is both remarkable and unprecedented.

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