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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid