News / Europe

Obama says US, Ireland Share A 'Blood Link'

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at College Green in Dublin, Ireland, Monday, May 23, 2011
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at College Green in Dublin, Ireland, Monday, May 23, 2011
Kent Klein

While visiting Dublin, President Barack Obama said Monday the United States and Ireland share a “blood link” that goes beyond strategic interests or foreign policy.  As our correspondent reports from the Irish capital, the president also visited a small town where his family heritage extends back more than a century and a half.

President Obama and his wife Michelle received an enthusiastic welcome from Ireland's leaders and its people.

The highlight of the day was the frenzied greeting the first couple received in the small town of Moneygall, where one of Mr. Obama's ancestors lived generations ago.

The village of about 300 people had eagerly anticipated Mr. Obama's visit.  The president and Mrs. Obama walked up and down Moneygall's main street and shook hands with people in a crowd many times the size of the town's population.  

They stopped into the president's ancestral home and an Irish craft shop before visiting a pub.

The president and his wife chatted with the bartender and local residents while drinking a Guinness beer, which he said tastes better in Ireland than in the United States.

“But what I realized was that you guys are keeping all the best stuff here," said President Obama.

Mr. Obama's great-great-great-grandfather, a shoemaker named Falmouth Kearney, is said to have left Moneygall for America in 1850, during the worst of Ireland's potato famine.  The Irish connection was discovered during Mr. Obama's 2008 campaign for the presidency.

About 37 million Americans claim Irish ancestry, more than eight times the population of Ireland.  President Obama told several thousand people at a concert in Dublin that Irish history is intertwined with American history.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the Irish excitement about the president's visit was palpable.  Ireland's Ambassador to the United States, Michael Collins, referred to the occasion as “a golden moment” for Ireland.

After arriving in Dublin, Mr. Obama, with Irish President Mary McAleese, planted a tree near where Britain's Queen Elizabeth had planted one the previous week.

A short time later, Mr. Obama met with Prime Minister Kenny, who welcomed the president and told him the Irish government is dealing with its economic crisis in a serious way.

Last November, Ireland accepted a financial bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.  One condition of the help is that the Irish government must cut about 25,000 jobs.

Mr. Obama acknowledged the tough steps Ireland is taking to address its economic problems.  He said the American people are rooting for Ireland to succeed, and he pledged that the U.S. government will help in any way possible.

“We are glad to see that progress is being made in stabilizing the economic situation here," said Obama. "I know it is a hard road, but it is one that the Irish people are more than up to the task in achieving.”

Mr. Obama also said progress toward peace in Northern Ireland is an inspration, demonstrating how people in "longstanding struggles can re-imagine their relationships."

In addition, the president and Mr. Kenny talked about the NATO military operation in Libya, and about U.S. immigration policy.

And Mr. Obama said Ireland “punches above its weight,” contributing disproportionately to international projects from peacekeeping to food security to human rights.

The president next visits Britain, where he will try to reinforce what has long been called the “special relationship” between the two countries.

Later in the week, Mr. Obama will attend the G8 economic summit in the French resort city of Deauville.  He will conclude his trip with a visit to Warsaw, where he will meet with Central European leaders.   

You May Like

Photogallery Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had earlier warned storm could be one of worst the city has ever faced More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid