Sunday 21 October 2018

Ireland and America can build on shared strengths to ensure a new era of success

President Obama and the new US ambassador share an interest in Ireland
President Obama and the new US ambassador share an interest in Ireland

Kevin F O'Malley

Ninety years ago this week, the United States became the very first country to open diplomatic relations with Ireland when Timothy Smiddy presented his credentials in Washington and ushered in a new era in US-Irish relations.

How fortunate I feel to take up my new role as US Ambassador to Ireland at this auspicious moment - and at a time when the relationship between our peoples and our governments holds such great promise. I am greatly honoured President Barack Obama asked me to represent the United States to a country I hold so dear.

This week reinforced for me the extraordinary nature of the US-Irish connection. I was sworn in by vice-president Joe Biden, whose mother Kitty Finnegan instilled in him a great sense of Irish heritage, as my parents and grandparents did for me. Our Irish-American inheritance was a keen sense of belonging to a people who came out of struggle, but kept their integrity, values, and the joy, decency and humour the Irish are famous for - no matter the circumstances.

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