A St. Patrick's Day message from Ireland: Thank you, America

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free"...and so they went.

Perhaps on St. Patrick's Day too, America's enemies might pause from their hatred and plotting and consider that, contrary to their dogma, America at its best does not trample or oppress the poor, but raises them up to freedom, dignity and prosperity. Everyone: black or white, Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

Look today, at the White House, where Barack Obama will thank Ireland for its contribution to America. But few think to thank America. America suffers from a deficit of gratitude. No matter what it does, there are many in Europe keen to mock and deride America.

I'd like to hope that Ireland can be an exception to the rule of European cynicism and ingratitude toward our close friend, the United States. So, as an ordinary Irishman, today I'd like to say this to the ethereal but very real thing that is America:

Happy St Patrick's Day and, above all, thank you.

Rory Fitzgerald  is a lawyer and journalist who lives in Cork.