Kevin O’Malley, the newly sworn-in US Ambassador to Ireland, arrived in Dublin yesterday with his family, two black Labrador dogs, and a message for the Irish people.
“I am thrilled at the opportunity to represent my country in the land of my ancestors,” he said in a video released on the US Embassy Dublin’s YouTube page.
In the video, the new ambassador names his goals for his tenure and shares info about his background and Mayo roots, in addition to a few old photos.
“I hope to broaden and strengthen our very close bonds, to assist any way I can to achieve a just and permanent peace in the North, and to increase trade, commerce and prosperity,” he explains, before adding how much this journey of “a few thousand kilometers and only two generations” means to him.
Ambassador O’Malley, a former federal prosecutor from St. Louis, is the 27th US ambassador or envoy to Ireland and the first from Missouri to be appointed. His nomination was confirmed by the US Senate on September 19 (after a nudge by the American Ireland Fund), and he was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on September 30.
23 years after our first meeting, President Higgins and I meet again! pic.twitter.com/zZ5N5oIAou— Kevin O'Malley (@USAmbIreland) October 8, 2014
Shortly after arriving in Dublin, he presented his credentials to President Michael D. Higgins, whom he had previously met 23 years earlier when Higgins was the Mayor of Galway.
O’Malley and his wife Dena explored Dublin’s Phoenix Park with their two black Labrador dogs – named Liam and Kieran, no less.
Say hi to Liam & Kieran, our labs who made the trip from St. Louis with Dena and me. Already enjoying Phoenix Park! pic.twitter.com/cDrbaqGD2u— Kevin O'Malley (@USAmbIreland) October 8, 2014
His arrival in Dublin ends a 21-month period without an American ambassador to Ireland – the longest period of time that the post has been left vacant since the US government first appointed a diplomatic envoy to Ireland in 1927.
O’Malley is a successful medical malpractice lawyer and is also an officer in the Army Reserve.
He had ten years of service as a federal prosecutor. He is an ex-seminarian and prominent parishioner in the St. Louis diocese.
He is a second-generation Irish American and a highly respected community leader in St. Louis. His grandfather was from Mayo and O’Malley held dual citizenship until he was tapped to become ambassador.
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough has described O’Malley as a "close personal friend of the president" and a "leader in his field."
“The more people get to know the St Louis attorney, the more impressed they will be by him,” he said.