Hillary Clinton celebrates Dan Rooney’s service to the US and Ireland at White House event
Former ambassador to Ireland reflects on his “dream job” in Dublin’s Phoenix Park
“Who would have imagined that we would live to see Martin McGuinness take – shake hands with the Queen? At your direction, I worked with those in the loyalist community who have not fully felt the benefits of peace…The peace in the north is still a process. It’s an ongoing effort. But we have hope. Things are better and they will continue to get better despite the issues needing to be resolved.”
He ended saying, “I am an American of Irish heritage. Ireland has always been special to me, and I have a deep love for the Irish people. I have had a lifelong commitment to advancing the relationship between the American and the Irish people. I thank you and President Obama for your trust and the privilege of serving as Ambassador to the United States. This flag will remind us of our time in Dublin.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Rooney’s wife Patricia and his granddaughter Sarah. During her speech Clinton also congratulated Patricia on her efforts to reach out to the Irish community during her stay and praised the couple’s work as a team.
She said, “Together, you showed the people of Ireland in a powerful, personal way how much Americans value our friendship with them.”
The Secretary of State also applauded Rooney’s integrity, warmth and good humor.
“He doesn’t give you his business card; he gives you a Steelers pin. His pockets are full of them. He lines up his multiple cell phones on his desk, makes calls all day long, moving from timezone to timezone, staying on top of the news, spreading good cheer to Dublin, Washington, Pittsburgh, everywhere he has friends, and that’s across the world,” Clinton said.
She went on to list the excellent results which Rooney’s team at the embassy have reaped. She said, “Our relationship, as the Taoiseach told me, has never been stronger. And I wanted to pass that on to you.
“We’ve increased trade and investment between our countries. The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership has been reinvigorated. We helped support Ireland in hosting a successful OSCE ministerial and to begin its EU presidency this month. We worked closely, even more so, with Ireland on security and peace, development and human rights. And of course, what Dan would call the Super Bowl of his tenure, President Obama visited Ireland and had a fabulous trip where he really demonstrated the depth of his commitment to the relationship.”
The Rooney family suffered the tragic and sudden loss of their daughter Rita in December. Rooney thanks Hillary Clinton for the personal call she made to the family and the friendship she had shown.
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