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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora