The Irish Ambassador to the United States, Anne Anderson, has spoken of her pride in Ireland’s youth, especially in the aftermath of the Berkeley tragedy in which six young Irish people lost their lives.
Speaking at the reception for the Washington Ireland Program (WIP) Class of 2015, Ambassador Anderson declared in a passionate speech, "I have always believed that the young people of Ireland are our greatest asset – your inquiring minds, adventurous spirits, and deep-down decency, represent our hope and our future.”
“I cannot imagine an Ambassador of any country who could feel more proud of her or his young compatriots.”
Referring to the balcony collapse tragedy in Berkeley, she stated that that the nationwide sorrow and shadow cast by the summer tragedy has allowed young Irish people the opportunity to show their strength and to prove themselves in the face of such heartbreak.
“Over the past six weeks, in circumstances sorrowful and joyful, that faith and confidence have been vindicated and fortified,” she said.
“These young people showed their love for their lost and injured friends in countless different ways – so many acts of comfort and support and tenderness.”
"They have proven themselves such steadfast friends: ‘genuine heroes’ as they were described in the statement issued yesterday by four of the families.”
Since the balcony collapse six weeks ago, the ambassador has traveled to other states in the US where she believes young Irish people are carrying out work and achieving things that should make the nation proud.
On a visit to Alaska, she celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Irish Hope Partnership which provides services throughout Alaska to enable people with disabilities to lead full and meaningful lives. The Irish Hope Partnership has seen hundreds of young Irish people traveling to Alaska to work as volunteers and, as Anderson says, “Their impact has been enormous.”
She also spoke of her visit to the Special Olympics in Los Angeles and her pride in Team Ireland.
“Our 88 Irish athletes span all ages, but the majority are young, close in age to the WIP participants here tonight. Their talent and tenacity, their grit and determination, make them role models for us all.”
“And indeed the Special Olympics motto is one we might all adopt: ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,’” she continued.
The Irish Ambassador also addressed the strengthening of the links between Ireland and the US thanks to the work of young Irish people and she also highlighted the ability of organizations such as Special Olympics Ireland and the WIP to work easily on an all-island basis.Anderson concluded her thoughtful speech to the WIP 2015 participants with encouraing words for Ireland’s young people and the role they have to play in the future of Ireland: “You are part of, and representatives of, a great generation. You have so much to contribute, such boundless potential,” she concluded.
“As our country heads into a period of renewal, we urgently need that contribution; we need your empathy and your energy, your vision and your moral compass.”