U.S. President Barack Obama is not the only Offaly man in the White House, it has emerged.
Tim Feighery, who is originally from Tullamore, was recently sworn in as Chairman of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States by the Attorney General Eric Holder, during a ceremony in the former White House office of Robert Kennedy.
Growing up in Tullamore, his parents Tom and Anne immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s with their eight children.
The Offaly man was educated at the Christian Brothers school in Tullamore before returning to the U.S. to study law at Fordham University, where he attained a BA and a JD.
Speaking about his years in school in Tullamore, Feighery told the Offaly Express he has fond memories.
“I remember often shoveling coal into the cellars there after deliveries!” he recalled.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Attorney General made reference to Feighery’s Irish links.
“As you know, in Ireland’s County Offaly, where Tim grew up, where much of his family still lives, and where President Obama can trace a great, great, great grandfather - the county motto is very important. And it consists of just two simple words: 'Be Faithful.'"
“This is not merely a credo; it is a directive. It’s a call to live out our most cherished values in a world where the answers to our problems are often difficult to find and even harder to implement. Not only is this imperative consistent with the proud history of the Irish people – it is reflective of the singular dedication that Tim has brought to every challenge he has faced.”
The Offaly man was nominated for the position by President Obama last November and later confirmed by the Senate on March 10, 2011.
A former Deputy Special Master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, Feighery was responsible for assessing claims from 9/11 victims from 2003 to 2004.
He has also worked as a senior attorney in the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission and as an Associate at Kaye Scholer LLP.
Speaking about his new appointment he told the Offaly Express he hopes it would be seen as a reflection of the his great home county: “You know how life is funny, you go – get led sometimes – in different directions, but when things like this happen I’m just glad that there is perhaps some level of achievement that reflects well on your family and more generally on your community, and for me Tullamore is where I grew up and spent my formative years so I hope it reflects well on that great town and the great county of Offaly!”