The new American Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney, has local Sligo connections and is a frequent visitor to the area.
Involved with many IrishAmerican organisations, he co-founded the Ireland Fund with Dr. Tony O Reilly, and is also a founder member of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh (IIP), which aims to promote mutual understanding between the North and South of Ireland, and between the Catholic and Protestant traditions in the North.
For many years the IIP has been providing training and work experience for groups of young people from the Border Counties and Northern Ireland, financed by the International Fund for Ireland and the Walsh Visa programme.
The Fas Training Centre in Sligo have been involved in many of these programmes and many young people from Sligo and Leitrim have benefitted from them.
Peter Tiernan, retired Manager of the Fas Sligo Training Centre said Mr Rooney took a great interest in the work of the Ireland Institute, and they met in Pittsburgh where he was finalising arrangements for 20 trainees from Sligo/Leitrim and Northern Ireland to spend 12 weeks in Pittsburgh.
Mr Rooney was very knowledgeably about Sligo and said he was a frequent visitor, as his wife, Patricia (nee Regan) has close relatives in Ballisodare.
His Grandfather also called Dan Rooney, was born in Newry, County Down.