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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora