|Minister Eamon Gilmore speaking at the Irish America event|
Over 300 of the best of the Irish on Wall Street gathered for our Irish America Magazine event.
Highlight of the night was the speech of chief honoree Brian Ruane of BNY/Mellon, who oversees 1,800 employees in the company's Irish offices as well as running their hedge fund strategy from New York.
Far from downgrading Ireland, Ruane sees potential for expansion there and pointed to a dedicated and well educated workforce that can help Ireland again become a major player in international finance.
Ruane was bullish on the Irish economy, and he is a man who should know.
It was a welcome respite from the prophets of doom and gloom who populate the Irish air and media space every day.
Also bullish was Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore, who delivered a stem winder speech noting that Ireland was fighting back after its near economic collapse.
He pointed to a GDP rise of 1.6 per cent over the past three months and a host of positive articles in the world media, including the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal proclaiming that Ireland was on its way back.
He noted the contrast with his first few months in office when the weekly bulletins he read on news coverage about Ireland was depressing in the extreme.
Gilmore is helping lead a government that has got the optics right, that is straightforward and is not massaging figures or telling porkies about Ireland's real situation.
That honesty and willingness to talk straight about the problems and solutions has resulted in a markedly better press for Ireland in recent months and sense that a corner has been turned.
There are clear signs that the bottom had finally been reached in the bank bailout saga also he noted.
Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, head of the Democratic Governor's Association and a potential candidate for president in 2016 was also effusive in his praise of Ireland getting its story straight and beginning a major comeback.
He stated he never doubted the Irish spirit and resolve to put matters right.
The night I think, marked a turning point, a sense that there was reason for optimism about Ireland's prospects after a long dark night.
The caliber of the 2011 class was exceptional "This year's honorees are among the best and the brightest Irish America has ever had the pleasure of celebrating. They have a lot riding on their shoulders in these turbulent economic times, but their
accomplishments and determination assure me that we are in safe hands," said Patricia Harty, editor and co-founder of Irish America magazine.
Honorees included some of the leading lights on Wall Street, some of whom came from as far away as Boston, California, Ireland and Philadelphia,
Prudential's Barbra Koster filled a table with female colleagues, four of whom had flown in from the subsidiary in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal for the occasion.
An incredible musical interlude was provided by violinist John Kelly, CEO of the Irish Chamber Orchestra which will be performing at Lincoln Center on October 31st.
All in all a night to remember