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Friday, July 18, 2014

Kevin O'Malley, Nominee for US Ambassador to Ireland, Testifies Before Senate Foreign Relations Committee


Kevin O'Malley testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations this week about becoming the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. It was part of a full day of hearings at the Capitol.

Here is Mr. O'Malley's full testimony.

O'Malley said, "Ireland is one of our most reliable allies and stable trading partners," adding that "Trade and investment ties between the United States and Ireland will be furthered strengthened if we can reach agreement on an ambitious Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership."

President Obama nominated O'Malley on June 5, 2014 to replace former U.S. Ambassador Dan Rooney, who retired in December 2012.

The U.S. Embassy in Ireland is located at 42 Elgin Road in Dublin's Ballsbridge neighborhood.  Find current activities on Facebook.


President Obama Speaks about Immigration Reform




President Barack Obama addressed the pressing issue of immigration reform on June 9, 2014, after meeting with Texas Governor Rick Perry about the influx of children from Central America coming into the Rio Grande basin.

President Obama said  Congress must be "prepared to act in order to solve the problem.  I urged the Governor to talk to the Texas delegation is prepared to move" on the  supplemental legislation, "this problem could get solved."

Here is more information on the President's White  House policy on immigration reform.






Thursday, June 5, 2014

President Obama Nominates Kevin O'Malley of St. Louis as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland


President Barack Obama nominated Kevin F. O'Malley, a respected attorney in St. Louis and long-time supporter of the president, as the next U.S. Ambassador to the United States.  The nomination was sent to the United States Senate on June 5, 2014 for confirmation.

Mr. O'Malley will fill the position last held by Daniel Rooney of Pittsburgh, PA, who left the post in December 2012.

Here is the White House's information on O'Malley  . :

Kevin F. O’Malley is an officer in the Litigation Department at Greensfelder, Hemker and Gale in St. Louis, Missouri and has been a practicing trial lawyer for over 35 years.  Mr. O’Malley has been an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law since 2013, and taught at St. Louis University School of Law from 1979 to 1985.  He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in St. Louis from 1979 to 1983 and was a Special Attorney in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Department of Justice from 1974 to 1979.  In 2009, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed Mr. O’Malley to the Missouri Board of Healing Arts.  Mr. O'Malley served as a legal instructor for the American Bar Association's Central and East European Law Initiative in Moscow in 1996 and Warsaw in 1999.  He received an A.B. and a J.D. from Saint Louis University.

Find out more about the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Ireland on facebook.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Statement from John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State


Here is a statement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry regarding St. Patrick's Day:

The American people join Irish people all over the world in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.

Today, we look back with pride on Irish contributions to America’s history and cultural heritage. But we also look forward as Irish immigrants continue to renew America and remind us of our common roots. President Obama said it best: “There’s always been a little green behind the red, white, and blue.” I couldn’t agree more. As a former Senator from Massachusetts, home to one of the largest Irish-American populations in our country, I hold a special appreciation of what Ireland means to America.

There are many Irish immigrants who have helped write America’s story with their incredible success. Today, we honor them and the next generation of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic who are supporting this vital relationship.

Our partnership is broader and deeper than ever before. We’re working together to promote civil society, science and technology, education, and entrepreneurship. We’re also forging new academic and professional partnerships and pursuing opportunities through delegations, such as the one led by Special Representative Drew O’Brien to Limerick and Belfast in January.

Our investments in peace and prosperity will continue to strengthen the bonds between Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United States, and promote economic growth in both our countries.

We often remark that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. In the words of Ireland’s great poets, to the island’s outsized place in world history, to the powerful example it sets for the world, there is a heritage for us all to celebrate.

On this joyous holiday, we offer the people of Ireland our warmest wishes and look forward to strengthening the Irish–American relationship for years to come.

President Obama's Remarks at St. Patrick's Day Reception at the White House, March 14, 2014




President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, along with Vice President Joe Biden, welcomed Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his wife Finnuala to the White House on Friday, March 14, 2014. 

Earlier in the day, President Obama and Prime Minister Kenny met to discuss issues of mutual interest, including progress in Northern Ireland and immigration.  Here are comments.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

President Barack Obama Declares Irish-American Heritage Month, 2014


- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Centuries after America welcomed the first sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle to our shores, Irish heritage continues to enrich our Nation. This month, we reflect on proud traditions handed down through the generations, and we celebrate the many threads of green woven into the red, white, and blue.

Irish Americans have defended our country through times of war, strengthened communities from coast to coast, and poured sweat and blood into building our infrastructure and raising our skyscrapers. Some endured hunger, hardship, and prejudice; many rose to be leaders of government, industry, or culture. Their journey is a testament to the resilience of the Irish character, a people who never stopped dreaming of a brighter future and never stopped striving to make that dream a reality.

Today, Americans of all backgrounds can find common ground in the values of faith and perseverance, and we can all draw strength from the unshakable belief that through hard work and sacrifice, we can forge better lives for ourselves and our families.

The American and Irish peoples enjoy a friendship deepened by both shared heritage and shared ideals. On the international stage, we are proud to work in concert toward a freer, more just world. As we honor that enduring connection during Irish-American Heritage Month, let us look forward to many more generations of partnership. May the bond between our peoples only grow in the centuries to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2014 as Irish-American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

White House issues National Security Council statement on Northern Ireland talks


National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlyn Hayden issued the following statement today:

"Talks led by independent chair Richard Haass with the five parties of the Northern Ireland Executive have reached a critical juncture. The goal has been and remains to reach agreement before the end of the year on new arrangements for parading, flags, and contending with the legacy of past violence. 
Initiating these talks demonstrated the commitment of the parties and people of Northern Ireland to move forward on tough issues. We are confident that a solution can be reached if there is political will on all sides.

"We call upon the leadership of the five parties to make the compromises necessary to conclude an agreement now, one that would help heal the divisions that continue to stand between the people of Northern Ireland and the future they deserve."


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

President Barack Obama's Eulogy of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg




To Gra├ža Machel and the Mandela family; to President Zuma and members of the government; to heads of state and government, past and present; distinguished guests - it is a singular honor to be with you today, to celebrate a life unlike any other.  To the people of South Africa - people of every race and walk of life - the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.  His struggle was your struggle.  His triumph was your triumph.  Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.

It is hard to eulogize any man - to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person - their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul.  How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.

Born during World War I, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by elders of his Thembu tribe - Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century.  Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement - a movement that at its start held little prospect of success.  Like King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed, and the moral necessity of racial justice.  He would endure a brutal imprisonment that began in the time of Kennedy and Khrushchev, and reached the final days of the Cold War.  Emerging from prison, without force of arms, he would - like Lincoln - hold his country together when it threatened to break apart.  Like America’s founding fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations - a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power.

Given the sweep of his life, and the adoration that he so rightly earned, it is tempting then to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men.  But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead, he insisted on sharing with us his doubts and fears; his miscalculations along with his victories.  “I’m not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection - because he could be so full of good humor, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried - that we loved him so.  He was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood - a son and husband, a father and a friend.  That is why we learned so much from him; that is why we can learn from him still.  For nothing he achieved was inevitable.  In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness; persistence and faith.  He tells us what’s possible not just in the pages of dusty history books, but in our own lives as well.

Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals.  Perhaps Madiba was right that he inherited, “a proud rebelliousness, a stubborn sense of fairness” from his father. Certainly he shared with millions of black and colored South Africans the anger born of, “a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments…a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people.”

But like other early giants of the ANC - the Sisulus and Tambos - Madiba disciplined his anger; and channeled his desire to fight into organization, and platforms, and strategies for action, so men and women could stand-up for their dignity.  Moreover, he accepted the consequences of his actions, knowing that standing up to powerful interests and injustice carries a price.  “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination,” he said at his 1964 trial.  “I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.  It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve.  But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Mandela taught us the power of action, but also ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those you agree with, but those who you don’t.  He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a sniper’s bullet.  He turned his trial into an indictment of apartheid because of his eloquence and passion, but also his training as an advocate. He used decades in prison to sharpen his arguments, but also to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement.  And he learned the language and customs of his oppressor so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depended upon his.

Mandela demonstrated that action and ideas are not enough; no matter how right, they must be chiseled into laws and institutions.  He was practical, testing his beliefs against the hard surface of circumstance and history.  On core principles he was unyielding, which is why he could rebuff offers of conditional release, reminding the Apartheid regime that, “prisoners cannot enter into contracts.”  But as he showed in painstaking negotiations to transfer power and draft new laws, he was not afraid to compromise for the sake of a larger goal.  And because he was not only a leader of a movement, but a skillful politician, the Constitution that emerged was worthy of this multiracial democracy; true to his vision of laws that protect minority as well as majority rights, and the precious freedoms of every South African.

Finally, Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit.  There is a word in South Africa- Ubuntu - that describes his greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.  We can never know how much of this was innate in him, or how much of was shaped and burnished in a dark, solitary cell.  But we remember the gestures, large and small - introducing his jailors as honored guests at his inauguration; taking the pitch in a Springbok uniform; turning his family’s heartbreak into a call to confront HIV/AIDS - that revealed the depth of his empathy and understanding.  He not only embodied Ubuntu; he taught millions to find that truth within themselves.  It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailor as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion, generosity and truth. He changed laws, but also hearts.

For the people of South Africa, for those he inspired around the globe - Madiba’s passing is rightly a time of mourning, and a time to celebrate his heroic life.  But I believe it should also prompt in each of us a time for self-reflection. With honesty, regardless of our station or circumstance, we must ask:  how well have I applied his lessons in my own life?

It is a question I ask myself - as a man and as a President.  We know that like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation.  As was true here, it took the sacrifice of countless people - known and unknown - to see the dawn of a new day.  Michelle and I are the beneficiaries of that struggle.  But in America and South Africa, and countries around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not done.  The struggles that follow the victory of formal equality and universal franchise may not be as filled with drama and moral clarity as those that came before, but they are no less important.  For around the world today, we still see children suffering from hunger, and disease; run-down schools, and few prospects for the future.  Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs; and are still persecuted for what they look like, or how they worship, or who they love.

We, too, must act on behalf of justice.  We, too, must act on behalf of peace.  There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality.  There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.  And there are too many of us who stand on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard.

The questions we face today - how to promote equality and justice; to uphold freedom and human rights; to end conflict and sectarian war - do not have easy answers.  But there were no easy answers in front of that child in Qunu.  Nelson Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done.  South Africa shows us that is true.  South Africa shows us we can change.  We can choose to live in a world defined not by our differences, but by our common hopes.  We can choose a world defined not by conflict, but by peace and justice and opportunity.

We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.  But let me say to the young people of Africa, and young people around the world - you can make his life’s work your own.  Over thirty years ago, while still a student, I learned of Mandela and the struggles in this land.  It stirred something in me.  It woke me up to my responsibilities - to others, and to myself - and set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today.  And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be better.  He speaks to what is best inside us.  After this great liberator is laid to rest; when we have returned to our cities and villages, and rejoined our daily routines, let us search then for his strength - for his largeness of spirit - somewhere inside ourselves.  And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, or our best laid plans seem beyond our reach - think of Madiba, and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of a cell:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

What a great soul it was.  We will miss him deeply.  May God bless the memory of Nelson Mandela.  May God bless the people of South Africa.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Caroline Kennedy is sworn in as US Ambassador to Japan


Caroline Kennedy was sworn in as the US Ambassador to Japan on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at the US State Department.

At a reception later that evening at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave welcoming remarks to those who gathered, saying that the appointment of Ambassador Kennedy to Japan is "a symbol of reconciliation, a symbol of possibilities, a symbol of people who know how to put the past behind them and look to the future and build a future together. That is, in today’s world, both remarkable and beautiful."

Ambassador Kennedy made brief remarks at the reception.

Kennedy is the honorary president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston. 



Saturday, October 26, 2013

President Obama Urges Congress to Pass Immigration Reform Legislation this Year


This week, President Barack Obama urged Republicans and Democrats alike to pass an Immigration Reform bill this year. 

Speaking at the White House and surrounded by business officials, community leaders, religious clergy and immigration experts, the president expressed an urgency to "modernize our legal immigration system, so that even as we train American workers for the jobs of the future, we’re also attracting highly-skilled entrepreneurs from beyond our borders to join with us to create jobs here in the United States."

Read the full text of the speech here.  Find out more about the White House immigration reform initiative.

Follow Irish Americans for Obama on twitter.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Congratulations to Caroline Kennedy, US Ambassador to Japan


The United States Senate has confirmed the appointment of Caroline Kennedy 
to become the next US Ambassador to Japan.  She won the unanimous endorsement Wednesday, October 16, 2013, according to CBS News.

Her confirmation hearing took place before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 19, 2013.  Here is a video of that hearing.  She promised to carry on the legacy of her father, President John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy, who is the president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, has recently completed a  book on her grandmother's historical photographs, entitled Rose Kennedy's Family Album.

Visit the JFK Library for more information about President Kennedy and the Kennedy family.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

President Obama Praises American Workers this Labor Day Weekend



(August 31, 2013) - President Barack Obama praised the contributions of working men and women this Labor Day Weekend in his weekly address to the nation. 

President Obama said, "Over the past four and a half years, we’ve fought our way back from the worst recession of our lifetimes. And thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve begun to lay a foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth. But as any working family will tell you, we’re not where we need to be.

"But if we take a few bold steps – and if Washington is able to come together with common purpose and common resolve – we’ll get there. Our economy will keep getting stronger and more Americans will be able to join the ranks of the middle-class."

Here is a transcript of the speech.

Here is a video of the Labor Day address:



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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry Comments on President Kennedy's Historic Visit to Ireland Fifty Years Ago

President Kennedy in Ireland, 1963
(Photo Courtesy of JFK Library) 
 
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, has published his reflections of President John F. Kennedy's historic visit to Ireland in June 1963.  In an essay titled The Legacy of JFK: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of His Visit to Ireland, Secretary Kerry remarked on "the spirit and idealism of the Kennedy years" and what that meant to his generation growing up in the Cold War era.

"I particularly remember watching the news on a little black and white television set as America’s first Catholic President returned to the land of his heritage to celebrate a moment of pride on both sides of the Atlantic and a remarkable reminder that the United States was a nation of immigrants focused on the future but deeply proud of its roots," Kerry says.

This past week, Caroline Kennedy and her family returned to Ireland to retrace her father's visit fifty years ago, stopping in New Ross, County Wexford, from where the Kennedy family originated, and Bruff, County Limerick, where the Fitzgeralds came from.

For more information on President Kennedy, visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, located in Boston, Massachusetts. 








Monday, June 17, 2013

President and Mrs. Barack Obama Address Youth Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama addressed an assembly of young people at the Belfast Waterfront in Belfast, Northern Ireland today.

The president is attending the G-8 Summit Meeting in Belfast this week, while Mrs. Obama and her daughters are visiting Northern Ireland and the  Republic of Ireland.

Mrs. Obama talked about leadership and the importance of "honesty, hard work and a commitment to education."

President Obama talked about the peace process and the challenges facing a new generation of young people all around the world.

"You must remind us of the existence of peace -- the possibility of peace.  You have to remind us of hope again and again and again.  Despite resistance, despite setbacks, despite hardship, despite tragedy, you have to remind us of the future again and again and again," President Obama said.


Read the entire transcript here.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Kenny of Ireland Before a Bilateral Meeting


President Barack Obama met with Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the White House Oval Office this morning to discuss relations between the United States and Ireland.  Here is a transcript of the conversation.

10:41 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome back Taoiseach Kenny to the Oval Office, to the White House and his entire delegation.  Obviously, we cherish this opportunity once a year to reaffirm the incredible bond between the United States and Ireland.  This year, it also gives us an excuse to stretch out St. Patrick’s Day for a couple of extra days, which is always good.
This is now my fifth time to welcome the Taoiseach to the Oval Office.  I’ve had the occasion to visit Ireland as well -- one of the truly wonderful trips that I’ve taken as President of the United States.  And the reason that these meetings go so well is because of the incredible bond and history between our two countries.
Obviously, the contributions of Irish Americans to the United States is legendary.  But what is also true is that we have an incredibly strong partnership on economic issues, on security issues.  The Taoiseach has shown great leadership during difficult times in Ireland.  And we’re seeing progress in the Irish economy.  That’s good for the U.S. economy because we have a lot of trade, a lot of investment in Ireland.
There was a story this morning about a deal between Ryanair and Boeing in which we’ll be selling a whole lot of airplanes to Ireland.  And it’s an example of how the progress that’s made in Ireland benefits jobs and businesses here in the United States.  Obviously, the Taoiseach is very interested, as well as in continuing to attract direct investment from the United States to Ireland.  So this will be a major topic of discussion.
Ireland also punches above its weight internationally when it comes to humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping.  Irish troops are in many very difficult places in the world and provide the kinds of stabilization and humanitarian efforts that make all the difference and save lives.
And so I am very much looking forward to having a good conversation.  I’m sure we will also touch on the issue of Northern Ireland in which we have continued to see progress coming out of the Good Friday agreements, but we also have to recognize that there’s a lot more work to be done before there’s true unity of effort in that country.  And I know that both in discussions with the Taoiseach as well as in talking to the ministers who are here from Northern Ireland, we’ll have an opportunity to find out how the United States can be helpful in that overall effort as well.
So, again, Taoiseach, I want to welcome you.  Thank you for giving me an excuse to break out my green tie.  (Laughter.)  And I'm sure that we'll have a wonderful lunch up on Capitol Hill and once again be able to reaffirm the incredible friendship between our peoples.

PRIME MINISTER KENNY:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Could I to say that it’s a particular privilege to be able to come here to the White House to visit President Obama to continue this wonderful tradition that the American government over the years has shown to Ireland because of the particular and unique relationship between our countries covering many centuries.
I come here both as Taoiseach, but also as the presidency of the European Union.  I suppose I should say this because I’ll never get the chance again, it’s great to be on presidential terms here.  (Laughter.)  The President of the United States, an Irishman, and the President of Europe, an Irishman, meeting in the Oval Office.  (Laughter.)
But I would like to say seriously, it’s an opportunity for me to brief the President on the progress being made in challenging times for the Irish government, following a very clear and strategic plan.  It's also an opportunity to brief the President on issues of the European Union and the progress being made by the European Council, with particular reference to the EU-U.S. trade -- participation and free trade, to which the President referred in his State of the Union address.  I’d like to follow that through with him.  Also, to brief the President on opportunities in respect of Northern Ireland, immigration -- undocumented Irish -- and, of course, the general perspectives both for the world economy.  And as the President is moving to the Middle East this evening, I can give him an update on the recent meeting and discussion that the European Council held there.
Besides, it’s a real opportunity to celebrate St. Patrick's Week.  I have a second tie for the President, if he so wishes.  And, of course, there is a standing open invitation to President Obama to come back to Ireland whenever is convenient and appropriate and when he so wishes.  And maybe the next time, when our economies are moving in a more positive direction, we might actually have time to take out the sticks on the golf course.  I’m looking forward to that sometime in the future.
So to First Lady Michelle, the children, Malia and Sasha, we wish the President continued success and good fortune in the very onerous responsibilities that he lay up on his shoulders as the leader of the free world.  And it's a pleasure and a privilege to be in the Oval Office. 

END

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

President Barack Obama Proclaims Irish-American Heritage Month, March 2013



A PROCLAMATION

For more than two centuries, America has been made and remade by striving, hopeful immigrants looking for a chance to pursue their dreams. Millions among them were born in Ireland, separated from our shores but united by their belief in a better day. This month, we celebrate the Irish-American journey, and we reflect on the ways a nation so small has inspired so much in another.

Generations of Irish left the land of their forebears to cast their fortunes with a young Republic. Escaping the blight of famine or the burden of circumstance, many found hardship even here. They endured prejudice and stinging ridicule. But through it all, these new citizens never gave up on one of our oldest ideas: that anyone from anywhere can write the next great chapter in the American story.

So they raised families and built communities, earned a living and sent their kids to school. In time, what it meant to be Irish helped define what it means to be American. And as they did their part to make this country stronger, Irish Americans shared in its success, retaining the best of their heritage and passing it down to their children.

That familiar story has been lived and cherished by Americans from all backgrounds, and it reaffirms our identity as a Nation of immigrants from all around the world. So as we celebrate Irish-American Heritage Month, let us retell those stories of sweat and striving. And as two nations united by people and principle, may America and Ireland always continue to move forward together in common purpose.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2013 as Irish-American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

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