Irish president Mary McAleese is on a mission of great importance to the United States this week.

She is by far Ireland's most popular elected official, and with her country mired in doom and gloom, the personable president will spend the next four days in the New York area reviving the image of a dynamic Ireland.

She certainly got off to an impressive start at the first ever Irish Lifesciences award hosted by our fellow publication Irish Voice newspaper. She spoke at the Irish Consulate in New York before a packed room.

McAleese came out swinging, talking about the incredible creative potential in Ireland and the journey from poverty to prosperity that the country undertook in the space of a few decades.

She talked about the 500 American companies who have found Ireland an amazing country to invest in and the large numbers of Irish companies who have greatly added to America by locating here.

She also talked about the awardees for the Lifesciences,including Dr. James Watson, discoverer of DNA, perhaps the greatest singular scientific breakthrough of the 20th century.

She talked about how their forbears, many of whom would have been famine era migrants could never have imagined the success their offspring enjoyed in America today.

Above all she kept the message positive and upbeat, something we desperately need to hear from Ireland these days where sorrow and shame over the downfall of the Celtic Tiger has become a national obsession.

The reality is that Ireland fell hard, but other countries, Greece, Spain, etc, have fallen harder. And when it comes to picking ourselves up, dusting off and starting again, well we Irish in America know all about that

McAleese knows that and her remarks reflected that confidence that the Irish will rise again.

It was a very welcome message.

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