President Barack Obama with Steelers boss Dan Rooney

Mar 17, 2009, WASHINGTON, D.C. President Barack Obama today nominated Steelers boss and American Ireland co-founder Dan Rooney as his Ambassador to Ireland.
Speaking in Washington, where he was due to meet Taoiseach (Irish Prime MInister) Brian Cowen later today, Obama said, “I am honored and grateful that such a dedicated and accomplished individual has agreed to serve as the representative of the United States to the Irish people. 

"Dan Rooney is an unwavering supporter of Irish peace, culture, and education, and I have every confidence that he and Secretary Clinton will ensure America’s continued close and unique partnership with Ireland in the years ahead.”  
Both and the Irish Voice have been reporting the nomination for the past few weeks.

"Dan Rooney is the recent recipient of the American Ireland Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award and honorary Commander of the British Empire for contributions to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, has played an integral role in the Irish peace process since the early 1970s.

"In 1976, Rooney co-founded the American Ireland Fund, an organization which to date has raised over $300 million for peace and education programs in Ireland. Rooney founded the annual prize for Irish Literature in 1987 and co-founded the Ireland Institution of Pittsburgh in 1989. In 1993, the “Rooney Fellowship” was created to honor his generosity and charitable works.

Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the winners of Super Bowl XLIII, Rooney was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He has been the recipient of various awards in relation to his work within the community and for his involvement with the National Football League over the last 26 years, including: the Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year in 1972 and 2001, the Maxwell Football Club Reds Bagwell Award in 1999, and, in 2008, the YWCA Racial Justice Award and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor presented by the National Ethnic Coalition.

 Rooney also led the sports world’s efforts to include diversity beyond the field and into the front office through the “Rooney Rule,” which NFL teams to interview minority candidates for a head coaching.