On his first visit to New York as Taoiseach, Brian Cowen addressed those gathered to celebrate the Wall Street 50 at the Yacht Club, New York, on July 17. He showed his appreciation for America and said that as Taoiseach he would make sure that America's position in the world is given the respect it deserves.
Thank you very much indeed for that wonderful welcome. I deeply appreciate the goodwill that has been extended to me throughout my visit here to New York, my first official visit outside the country as Taoiseach of Ireland. I felt it was important to come here for a number of reasons. First of all I want to thank Niall O'Dowd and all the organizers of this event for the kind invitation to speak to you this evening.
I think that it's clear as we face into some uncertain times, turbulence in financial markets and credit squeeze and all the difficulties and problems that people are trying to confront, increased commodity prices and oil prices, there is a sense that we're moving into a different sort of an era.
And for Ireland today, certainly we are moving into a new era because we have consolidated progress that we have undoubtedly made. Where are we in the world in terms of both our relationship with the United States and indeed with Europe? And what are the prospects, what are the strategies, what are the ideas that modern Ireland has, to stay at the forefront as a progressive, democratic society that wants to play its role in the world?
And coming to the United States is always a great source of inspiration for me. My own family background has been one of great gratitude to this country for what it has done for my grandmother, for my mother, my uncles, my aunts, some of whom still live here and carved a life for themselves here.
And that's something that's very deep in all Irish people at home. It's not a relationship of sentimentality with the United States, there's a deep sense of kinship with the United States.
And Ireland's narrative, the political narrative of Ireland, is changing very dramatically from a political narrative in the past of grievance and injustice, a sense of missed opportunity, to now being a country that has redefined itself in the modern world in which we live and has opened up not only economically and socially but psychologically as well, a country which, a nation which was traditionally seen as one of the most dispersed nations has now in a very short space of time become one of the most diverse nations in the world, people from many nations coming to our shores now and finding a livelihood and a living in a far more diverse and pluralist society.