Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi made a special point of paying tribute to the importance of Shannon Airport and the tens of thousands of uniformed Americans who pass through it.

During a whistle-stop official visit to Ireland on Tuesday, she led a congressional delegation to discuss economic recovery, security cooperation, and renewable energy.

She was also honored in Dublin on Tuesday by the University Philosophical Society of Trinity College, the world’s oldest debating society.

Pelosi headed a delegation that included Congress members George Miller of California, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Richie Neal of Massachusetts, Carolyn Maloney of New York, Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and Keith Ellison of Minnesota.

They met Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, and Tanaiste (deputy leader) Eamon Gilmore, who is also minister for foreign affairs and trade.

Several other politicians and leaders of the private sector, including the American Chamber of Commerce, discussed a wide agenda with the delegation.

“Our delegation looks forward to continued discussion on the progress of Ireland’s growth and austerity measures, the upcoming referendum on the crucial European Union’s financial treaty, and ongoing security cooperation between the United States and Ireland, including the important use of Shannon Airport by tens of thousands of Americans in uniform,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi, speaker of the House from 2007 until 2011, was presented with the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage Award by the University Philosophical Society at Trinity.

The society, also known as The Phil, bestowed the award at the inaugural meeting of their 327th session for her “excellence in public life and outstanding contribution to politics.”

Pelosi noted, “It is a special privilege to be installed honorary patron of Trinity College, Dublin’s University Philosophical Society, the world’s oldest debating society, while commemorating my 25th year in Congress. I am honored and humbled to receive this distinction in such a historic setting for dialogue and debate.”

Philosophical Society President Eoin O’Liatháin said, “We’re delighted to welcome such a distinguished guest to Trinity. The Phil has recorded the presence of many notable speakers throughout our history and it’s great to continue in that vein. Leader Pelosi has contributed greatly to the world of politics and will be a truly special guest.”

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