Ireland

Bookmark and Share
News
more less
Overview

Ireland was settled around 6000 BC by people of Celtic and Anglo-Norman origin. Legend has it that St. Patrick arrived in 432 and helped to convert the country to Christianity from Paganism and Druidism. Christianity became intertwined with the nation’s history through Viking invasions and the Norman Conquest of the 12th Century. Although Ireland became part of the British Empire in 1800, the country fought for its independence, first during the Easter Rising of 1916 and then during the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921. Ireland battled religious strife between its Catholic and Protestant populations, as well as economic difficulties, including the Great Famine of 1845-1852. Since then, Ireland has successfully dealt with “the Troubles” in the northern part of the country and jump-started its formerly stagnant economy. Recently, liberalized social policies have led to unionist and nationalist political victories at the national level, as well as the full disarmament of the Irish Republican Army.

more less
Basic Information

Lay of the Land: The island of Ireland is separated from Scotland on the northeast by the North Channel, from England on the east by the Irish Sea, and from Wales on the southeast by St. George’s Channel. Its west coast fronts the Atlantic Ocean. The terrain gives Ireland the appearance of a giant bathtub; the mountainous coastal rim protects the low-lying interior of farms, pastures, bogs, and cities.

 
Population: 4.2 million
 
Religions: Catholic 86.8%, Church of Ireland 2.9%, Muslim 0.8%, other Christian 0.7%, Presbyterian 0.6%, Orthodox Christian 0.5%, Methodist 0.3%, Jewish 0.1%, unaffiliated 6%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Irish 87.4%, other white 7.5%, Asian 1.3%, black 1.1%, mixed 1.1%, other 1.6%
 
Languages: English (official) 65.5%, Irish Gaelic 6.6%, Scots 2.5%, Shelta 0.2%.
 

 

more less
History
The Irish people derive primarily from Celtic origins, with some Anglo-Norman ancestry. The country’s earliest inhabitants, during the Stone Age, arrived around 6000 BC. About 4,000 years later, tribes from southern Europe arrived and established the Neolithic culture in Ireland. 
 
During the Bronze Age, a new group of people arrived in Ireland, forging weapons and ornaments in gold and bronze. The Iron Age began with the invasion of the Celts, who had spread across Europe and Great Britain during the preceding centuries.
 
Legend has it that St. Patrick arrived in Ireland in 432 AD. In the years that followed, he worked to convert the island nation to Christianity. For a time, this new faith vied with paganism and druidism, but ultimately Christianity thrived, and the country soon erected monasteries and undertook the study of Christian theology and Latin.
 
Along with the transition to Christianity came a more profound focus on missionary work. Some Irish missionaries were sent to England and the European continent, and this continued to keep the Latin and Greek traditions alive during the Dark Ages. Related arts and crafts, such as manuscript illumination, metalworking and sculpture produced some of the era’s best works, including the Book of Kells.
 
Although Ireland endured several centuries of Viking invasions and settlement, during the 12th Century the Normans conquered the country. The Normans assimilated into Irish society for the next few centuries until the Scottish and English Protestants arrived in the 17th Century.
 
In 1800 the Irish Parliament passed the Act of Union with Great Britain, making Ireland part of the United Kingdom until 1921. During this time, religious freedom was allowed. But following close on the heels of this new freedom was a severe economic depression and famine from 1845-1851. This occurred when the potato crop failed, and as a result, millions died. Millions more emigrated to the United States in what became the first of many waves to do so.
 
In 1858, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, also known as the Fenians, was founded as a secret society dedicated to armed rebellion against the British. In 1874, the Home Rule Movement became the organization’s aboveground counterpart and sought to create change for Irish independence.
 
Charles Stewart Parnell became an important leader during his time, helping to force the British government after 1885 to introduce several home rule bills. Irish nationalism surged, and Sinn Fein (“Ourselves Alone”) began as an open political movement devoted to Irish sovereignty.
 
In 1914, a home rule bill passed that wasn’t enacted until the close of World War I. In 1916, Padraic Pearse and James Connolly led the unsuccessful Easter Rising which declared Ireland an independent republic. The rebellion lasted a week and destroyed much of Dublin. The British military eventually executed the leaders of the rebellion and threatened to conscript the Irish to fight in World War I. This backfired, garnering massive support for Sinn Fein in the 1918 general election.
 
Tensions with the British continued to grow, and the British army tried to dissolve Sinn Fein in many ways. The Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921 was finally sparked when these attempts failed.
 
In 1921, the war ended, and the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed. This created the Irish Free State, which was comprised of 26 counties within the British Commonwealth. Ireland was partitioned into two parts: Ireland and Northern Ireland. This was meant to be a temporary measure. The six predominantly Protestant counties of Ulster in Northern Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom, with limited self-government. Many Irish people disagreed with the partitioning, as well as the country’s subservience to the English monarchy. This opposition soon led to a civil war that lasted from June 28, 1922 until May 24, 1923.
 
In 1932, Eamon de Valera became prime minister. Under his rule, a new constitution was enacted in 1937. British military bases were soon withdrawn, and the ports were returned to Irish control.
 
During World War II, Ireland remained neutral. However, tens of thousands volunteered for service in the British forces. During this time, food was rationed, as well as coal and peat. In 1948, the Irish government formally declared the country a republic, and Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
 
During the 1960s, Ireland underwent a major economic change under Prime Minister Seán Lemass and Secretary of the Department of Finance T.K. Whitaker. The country’s educational system improved, and schooling was made free. Ireland also wanted to join the European Economic Community during this time, but because 90% of its export economy still depended on the United Kingdom market, it could not do so until the UK did, in 1973.
 
During the 1970s, the Irish economy stagnated, and “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland discouraged foreign investment. On January 30, 1972, in an incident known as Bloody Sunday, British forces shot to death 13 Irish protestors.  Later that year, on July 21, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) set off bombs that killed nine people and injured 130. This was known as Bloody Friday. The Irish currency was established in 1979, making it separate from the English sterling. Further economic reforms during the 1980s, along with the end of the Troubles, led to increased economic growth and mass immigration to the country, mostly people from Asia and Eastern Europe. 
 
This period came to be known as the Celtic Tiger and was later used as a model for economic growth by the Eastern Bloc states. Irish society was also liberalized during this time, allowing divorce, decriminalizing homosexuality, and allowing abortion in limited circumstances. On November 15, 1985, the British and Irish governments signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, signaling their dedication to finding a political solution to their differences.
 
On December 2, 1999, unionists and nationalists agreed to share limited areas of government. Several breakdowns in trust occurred in 2000, 2002 and 2007, as both sides tried to decommission paramilitary weapons and remove Army bases.
 
In 2003, the moderate Ulster Unionist and (nationalist) Social Democrat and Labour parties lost their dominant positions to the hard-line Democratic Unionist and (nationalist) Sinn Féin parties. On July 28, 2005, the Provisional IRA (PIRA) announced the end of its armed campaign and on September 25, 2005, international weapons inspectors supervised the full disarmament of the PIRA.
 
History of Ireland (Wikipedia)

 

more less
Ireland's Newspapers
more less
History of U.S. Relations with Ireland

The Irish were among the Europeans to first to reach America. Irish-born William Ayers was a crewman on Columbus’s 1492 voyage. Immigrants in the 17th Century were mainly poor Catholics, coming over as indentured servants or unskilled laborers. 

 
Immigration increased in the 18th Century, as dissident Presbyterians and other Protestants sought refuge in a predominantly Protestant America. Pressure to emigrate mounted as a result of numerous factors. Massive population growth in Ireland, growing from 3 million in 1725 to more than 8 million in 1841, led to intermittent famines, culminating in the horrific Potato Famine of 1845-1851, during which time 1.5 million people died and another 1.7 million emigrated. The British attempt to eradicate Irish culture and language, and their persecution of Catholics specifically, pushed another significant wave to America’s shores. 
 
Immigration remained high through World War I and up until the passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924, and legal immigration has remained negligible since then. Sincef the early 1980s, there has been a significant influx of highly educated young Irish individuals, seeking employment illegally as construction workers, bartenders, and waiters in the traditional Irish centers of New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. The number of illegals is estimated to be between 100,000 and 150,000. 
 
Emigration, long a vital element in the US-Irish relationship, declined significantly with Ireland’s economic boom in the 1990s. However, Irish citizens do continue the common practice of taking temporary residence overseas for work or study, mainly in the US, UK, and elsewhere in Europe, before returning to establish careers in Ireland. The US J-1 visa program, for example, remains a popular means for Irish youths to work temporarily in the United States.
 
During the long civil war in North Ireland, a perception existed that many Irish-Americans provided support to the IRA. “It is true that a small portion of Irish-Americans supported the Irish Republican Army, but the importance of the money they raised and the weapons they procured for the republican movement tended to be exaggerated—mostly by the British, Irish and American governments in an attempt to persuade Americans not to contribute to IRA support groups,” according to Kevin Cullen, who has written extensively about Ireland.
 
America and the Conflict (by Kevin Cullen, PBS Frontline)
more less
Current U.S. Relations with Ireland

 

Noted Irish-Americans
Andrew Jackson, son of Scotch-Irish immigrant parents, served as the 7th president of the United States from 1829-1837.  
Woodrow Wilson was of Scots-Irish descent and served as the 28th president of the United States from 1912-1920 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920 for his efforts in at the Paris Peace Conference after WWI.  
John F. Kennedy was the first and only Irish-Catholic American elected President of the United States.   He served as the 35th President from 1961 to 1963 when he was assassinated.
Ronald Reagan became the oldest man to be elected president and served as the 40th President from 1981-1989.  His father was of Irish Catholic ancestry and his mother was of Scots-English ancestry.
Best known today for his performance in Singing in the Rain, Gene Kelly was a celebrated dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, director and producer who received the Academy Honorary Award and 1952 for his career achievements.  His grandparents were Irish Roman Catholic immigrants.
James Cagney was the son of an Irish American father and an Irish-Norwegian mother.  He received an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1942 for his portrayal of George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy
Henry Ford was the son of an Irish father and Belgian mother.  He was the founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of the modern assembly line which transformed the American industry.
Born John Martin Feeney, American film director John Ford was the son of Irish parents was famous for his westerners such as Stagecoach and adaptations of 20th century Americans novels such as Grapes of Wrath.  He holds the record for most Best Director Academy Awards.
Often considered the "Master of Suspense," Alfred Hitchcock is most famous for his direction of Psycho as well as many other classics such as The Lady Vanishes,Rebecca, Rear Window, Vertigo, and North by Northwest.  He was of Irish heritage.
Michael Moore is an Academy-Award winning director and producer of Irish heritage.  He directed and produced Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Sicko, which are three of the top five highest-grossing documentaries of all time, and was one of Time Magazine's world's 100 most influential people.
George "Bugs" Moran, of Polish-Irish descent, was the last of the North Side gang leaders in Chicago and was Al Capone's arch enemy.
Raymond Chandler was a crime writer of Irish parentage whose style had a dramatic influence on the modern private eye story.
Mary Higgins Clark is the daughter of Irish immigrants and the best-selling author of 24 suspense novels, including Where are the Children?
Best known for his espionage and military science novels, Tom Clancy is a best-selling American author of Irish heritage who is one of only two authors to have sold two million copies on a first printing.
Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald is the author of The Great Gatsby.  He was the grandson of Irish immigrants.
Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell is the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gone With the Wind.  She is of Irish-Catholic ancestry.
Born Howard Allen O'Brien, Anne Rice comes from a Catholic Irish-American family and is the author of gothic and religious-themed books, the best known being Interview with a Vampire, and Queen of the Damned
New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd of Catholic Irish-American heritage, wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning series of columns on the Monica Lewinsky scandal. 
Sean Hannity is an American radio and television host, author and conservative political commentator.  He is the grandson of Irish immigrants.
Bill O'Reilly is a television host, columnist, author and political commentator of Irish heritage best known for hosting the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel.
Chris Matthews is a news anchor and political commentator of Irish heritage best known for his shows Hardball with Chris Matthews and The Chris Matthews Show.
Timothy John Russet was an American television journalist and lawyer who was the longest serving moderator on NBC's Meet the Press.  He was the son of Irish American Catholic parents.
Emmy-winning television host and writer, and comedian Conan O'Brien is of Irish ancestry and best known as the host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Best known as the presenter of the 1950s TV show called The Ed Sullivan Show, Ed Sullivan was an American entertainment writer and television host, and the grandson of Irish immigrants.
Audie Murphy was one of WWII's most decorated soldiers who later became an actor, appearing in 44 American films, including the popular To Hell and Back.  He was of Irish descent.
Born Henry McCarty but better known as Billy the Kid and William H. Bonney, Billy was a notorious 19th century American frontier outlaw and folk hero who was the son of Irish immigrants.
Known as the last heavyweight champion of bare-knuckle boxing, John Sullivan was also the first heavyweight champion of gloved boxing.  He was the son of Irish immigrant parents.
Mariah Carey is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and actress who is best known for her vocal range and is one of the best-selling female artists of all time.  Her mother is of Irish descent and her father is of Afro-Venezuelan descent.
Christina Aguilera is a Grammy-winning American singer and songwriter.  Her mother is Irish Catholic and her father is Ecuadorian.
Born as Harry Lillis Crosby, Bing Crosby was a popular singer and actor who is widely regarded as one of the most popular musical acts in history.  His father was English-American and his mother was Irish-American.
Gracie Allen was an American comedian is Irish descent who became internationally famous as the partner and foil to her husband George Burns.
Generally considered one of the finest actors in motion picture history, Spencer Tracy appeared in 74 films and was a nine-time nominee for Academy Award for Best Actor.  His father was of Irish descent and his mother was of English descent.
Errol Flynn was an actor best known for his romantic swashbuckling roles in Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Adventures of Don Juan.  He was of Irish-English descent.
Jackie Gleason, son of Irish immigrants, was an actor, comedian, and composer who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Hustler.
Princess Grace of Monaco was an American film and stage actress who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for The Country Girl.  Her father was the son of Irish immigrants and her mother was the daughter of German immigrants.
Born John Nicholson, Jack Nicholson is an actor, writer, producer, director and screenwriter, and has been nominated for an Academy Award 12 times with three wins for As Good as it Gets, Terms of Endearment, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  His family self-identifies as Irish although his mother is of Irish, English and Dutch descent.
Actor Martin Sheen is best known for his Emmy and Golden Globe winning portrayal of President Josiah Bartlet in The West Wing.  He is the son of an Irish immigrant mother and Spanish immigrant father.
Diane Keaton is an actress, director and producer of Irish descent who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Annie Hall.  
Mia Farrow is an actress, singer and former fashion model who has been nominated for numerous Golden Globe awards for her roles in John and Mary, Broadway Danny Rose, and Alice.  She is the daughter of Irish actress Maureen O'Sullivan.
John Travolta
Best known for his roles in Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Pulp Fiction, John Travolta is an actor, dancer, and singer of Italian- and Irish-American parentage.
Actor, director, producer, screenwriter Mel Gibson is best known for directing and starring in Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ, which won him an Academy Award for Best Director.  His mother was Irish-born and his father was of Australian descent.
Rosie O'Donnell is a television host, stand-up comedian, actress, singer and author well known for her LGBT activism.  Her mother was Irish American and her father was an Irish immigrant.
John Cusack is a screenwriter and actor of Irish descent best known for his role in High Fidelity.
Film and stage actor Matthew Broderick is best known for his role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Godzilla, and both the film and Broadway productions of The Producers.  He is of Jewish and Irish descent.
Host of NBC's late night talk show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Fallon is a comedian and actor of Irish descent best known for his work on Saturday Night Live.
Lindsay Lohan is an actress, model, and singer best known for her roles in Disney's The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls and Herbie Fully Loaded.  She is of Irish-Italian descent.
Child-star Macaulay Culkin is of Irish descent and best known for portraying Kevin McCallister in the first two Home Alone movies.
Whitey Ford was a Major League Baseball pitcher of Irish descent for the New York Yankees and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
Jason Kidd led the New Jersey Nets to two consecutive NBA finals in 2002 and 2003 and is generally regarded to be one of the best players of his generation. His father was African American and his mother is of Irish descent.
John Elway
John Elway was an NFL football quarterback of Irish descent who spent his entire professional career with the Denver Broncos and led his team to consecutive AFC Championships from 1986 to 1989.
John McEnroe
Former World No. 1 professional tennis player John McEnroe won seven Grand Slam singles titles, nine Grand Slam men's double titles, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title. His father is of Irish descent.
 
Relations between the United States and Ireland have long been based on shared ancestral ties and shared values. Since Ireland’s admission to the European Union, relations between the US and Ireland have improved even more. In certain cases, Ireland has acted as a bridge between the US and the EU, and during Ireland’s 2004 EU presidency, Ireland worked to strengthen ties that had been strained by the US’s creation of the Iraq War. 
 
According to the 2000 census, 30,528,470 people identified themselves as being of Irish ancestry. 
 
In 2006, 945,000 Americans visited Ireland. Tourism has grown every year since 2002, when 759,000 Americans traveled to Ireland.
 
In 2006, 414,423 Irish visited America. The number of tourists has increased significantly every year since 2002, when 259,687 Irish came to the United States.
 
more less
Where Does the Money Flow

From 2003 to 2007, US imports from Ireland were dominated by medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations, which averaged $16 billion annually. Other top imports were other scientific, medical and hospital equipment, averaging $2 billion; soft beverages and processed coffee, averaging $1.7 billion; industrial organic chemicals, averaging $1.4 billion; clocks and other household goods, averaging $1.8 billion.

 
US imports from Ireland on the decline included fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides, decreasing from $142.5 million to $94.6 million, and computer accessories, peripherals and parts, down from $902.7 million to $582 million.
 
During the same period, US exports to Ireland were dominated by civilian aircraft, increasing from $1.8 billion to $2.4 billion; finished metal shapes, moving up from $62 million to $67.6 million; plastic materials, increasing from $111.9 million to $170.2 million; other industrial supplies, up from $159.9 million to $169.8 million; and pharmaceutical preparations, up from $618.4 million to $911 million.
 
US exports to Ireland on the decline included computer accessories, which decreased from $1 billion to $858 million; organic chemicals, down from $243.8 million to $156.5 million; electric apparatus, moving down from $232.9 million to $224 million; and semiconductors, decreasing from $395.4 million to $217.4 million. 
 
The US sold $11.1 million of defense articles and services to Ireland in 2007. The US does not give aid to Ireland.
 
more less
Controversies

North Ireland Past Derails Awards Ceremony

In September 2008, plans to honor an Irish official with a peace award were disrupted when a colleague’s Sinn Fein’s past came to light. Stormont Junior Minister Jeffrey Donaldson was due to accept the Peace Dove Award in New York, but then a controversial BBC-TV program chronicling the 1983 Maze prison mass escape revealed how Donaldson’s compatriot, Gerry Kelly, shot a prison guard during the melee. Kelly said he used a gun smuggled into the top security jail as part of an escape plan involving 38 IRA prisoners. Donaldson and Kelly were in the US to undertake a series of engagements, with the highlight being the receipt of the Peace Dove Award when they both addressed the Co-Operation Ireland dinner in New York.
more less
Human Rights

According to the State Department, in 2007 there were some reports in Ireland of police abuse and inadequate care for prisoners with mental disabilities. There were also instances of discrimination against immigrants, racial minorities, and Travellers, of trafficking in persons, mistreatment of children, and domestic violence.

 
Human rights groups continued to criticize understaffing and poor infrastructure at the, the country’s only secure hospital for prisoners with mental disabilities. The Central Mental Hospital director estimated that approximately 200 patients in prison needed mental health treatment but were unable to receive it due to a lack of space.
 
The use of special arrest and detention authority continued, primarily for those involved in paramilitary organizations.
 
There were isolated reports of possible government corruption. During the year a Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters & Payments, commonly known as the Mahon Tribunal, continued to scrutinize ethical and legal questions regarding the prime minister’s acceptance of financial payments and loans from friends and business associates during his tenure as minister of finance in 1993-94.
 
Discrimination against racial minorities, including immigrants and Travellers, remained a problem.
 
Women enjoy the same legal rights as men, including rights under family law, property law, and in the judicial system. Nonetheless, inequalities persisted regarding pay and promotions in both the public and private sectors. Women constituted 42% of the labor force but were underrepresented in senior management positions.
 
There were reports that Ireland was a transit and destination country for a number of trafficking victims from Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. There were also unconfirmed reports that the country was a transit point for persons trafficked to or from Northern Ireland. NGOs reported that women were smuggled or trafficked into the country primarily for sexual exploitation and that men may be smuggled or trafficked for work in the construction industry or the agricultural sector.
 
Societal discrimination and violence against immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities, including Asians, East Europeans, and Africans, continued to be a problem. Racially motivated incidents involved physical violence, intimidation, graffiti, and verbal slurs; the majority of such incidents took place in public places. In a report released in May 2008, The Economic and Social Research Institute reported that 12.5% of the population had experienced discrimination. A November 2006 report found that 35% of immigrants interviewed had experienced discrimination or harassment in public places.
 
more less
Debate
more less
Past Ambassadors

Frederick A. Sterling

Appointment: Feb 19, 1927
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 27, 1927
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 7, 1934
Note: Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
 
W.W. McDowell
Appointment: Sep 13, 1933
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; did not serve under this appointment. Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
W.W. McDowell
Appointment: Jan 15, 1934
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 27, 1934
Termination of Mission: Died at post, Apr 9, 1934
Note: Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
 
Alvin Mansfield Owsley
Appointment: May 15, 1935
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 27, 1935
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 7, 1937
Note: Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
 
John Cudahy
Appointment: May 28, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 23, 1937
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 15, 1940
Note: Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
 
David Gray
Appointment: Feb 16, 1940
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 15, 1940
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 28, 1947
 
George A. Garrett
Appointment: Apr 10, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 28, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 27, 1951
 
Francis P. Matthews
Appointment: Jul 6, 1951
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 22, 1951
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 7, 1952
 
William Howard Taft III
Appointment: Apr 2, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: May 13, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 25, 1957
Note: Grandson of William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States
 
Scott McLeod
Appointment: May 9, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 17, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left Ireland, Mar 15, 1961
 
Edward G. Stockdale
Appointment: Mar 29, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 17, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 7, 1962
 
Matthew H. McCloskey
Appointment: Jul 12, 1962
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 19, 1962
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 7, 1964
 
Raymond R. Guest
Appointment: Mar 11, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 28, 1965
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 7, 1968
 
Leo J. Sheridan
Appointment: Sep 26, 1968
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 1, 1968
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 1, 1969
 
John D.J. Moore
Appointment: Apr 19, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 23, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 30, 1975
 
Walter J.P. Curley, Jr.
Appointment: Jul 23, 1975
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 18, 1975
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 2, 1977
 
William V. Shannon
Appointment: Jun 22, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 20, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 7, 1981
 
William E. McCann
Note: Not commissioned; nomination of Mar 17, 1981 not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Peter H. Dailey
Appointment: Mar 15, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 30, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 15, 1984
 
Robert F. Kane
Appointment: Feb 28, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 6, 1984
Termination of Mission: May 29, 1985
 
Margaret M. O’Shaughnessy Heckler
Appointment: Dec 17, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 30, 1986
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 20, 1989
 
Richard Anthony Moore
Appointment: Aug 7, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Sept 19, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, June 15, 1992
 
William Henry Gerald FitzGerald
Appointment: Jun 15, 1992
Presentation of Credentials: June 26, 1992
Termination of Mission: Left post, June 5, 1993
 
Jean Kennedy Smith
Appointment: Jun 17, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: June 24, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 17, 1998
 
Michael J. Sullivan
Appointment: Oct 22, 1998
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 21, 1999
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 20, 2001
 
Richard J. Egan
Appointment: Aug 29, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 10, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 21, 2002
 
James Casey Kenny
Appointment: Oct 6, 2003
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 31, 2003
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 13, 2006
 
more less
Ireland's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Anderson, Anne

 

Anne Anderson presented her credentials as Ireland’s ambassador to the United States to President Barack Obama on September 17, 2013. It’s the fifth ambassadorial posting for Anderson, a career foreign service officer.

 

Anderson was born in July 1952 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland. She moved with her family to Kilkenny, and then Dublin as her father, a psychiatric nurse, got different jobs. Anderson attended University College Dublin, graduating at age 19 with a B.A. in history and immediately started in the economic division of Ireland’s foreign service. She later earned a diploma in legal studies from King’s Inns.

 

Geneva was the site of Anderson’s first foreign posting, in 1976. She was part of the Irish mission to the United Nations. She was stationed there four years, although she worked for six months in Belgrade. In 1980, Anderson returned to Dublin to work on Eastern European issues as first secretary in the political division of the ministry of foreign affairs. Anderson’s first posting to the United States came in 1983, when she was economic attaché, then press attaché, at the Irish Embassy. Much of her time was spent explaining the 1985 Irish-Anglo accords to American audiences. Her daughter Claire was born in Washington during this period.

 

Anderson returned home in 1987 to serve as counselor in the Anglo-Irish division of the ministry. In 1991, she was made assistant secretary of administration, with ambassadorial rank, for the ministry and served in that position until 1995.

 

Anderson went back to Geneva, this time as head of Ireland’s mission to the UN. While there, she served for a year as chair of the UN Commission on Civil Rights. In 2001, Anderson moved to Brussels as the Irish representative to the European Union.

 

In 2005, Anderson was transferred to Paris as Ireland’s ambassador to France. During her time in this position, she organized an extensive renovation of the embassy, provoking some criticism back home over its cost. During part of this period, she was also accredited as Ireland’s ambassador to Monaco. Anderson moved to New York as the Irish ambassador to the United Nations, serving until taking the Washington post. Anderson is a frequent lecturer at U.S. universities.

 

Since becoming ambassador to the United States, Anderson has pushed for immigration reform. There are as many as 50,000 undocumented Irish in the U.S.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Ireland’s First Female Ambassador to the U.S. Anne Anderson (by Debbie McGoldrick, Irish Central)

Official Biography

more less
Ireland's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
more less

Comments

Dvmanh 1 year ago
It shows that they have moved on from the past more than you. I don't know any of my friends in Ireland who cosdnier reading an English book or paper as bowing down they would laugh at such a ridiculous notion! In fact if they read only Irish books/papers they would seem narrow,insular and stupid. Oh, and I notice you are writing in English? Perhaps you would like to show us all the way by only writing and communicating in Gaelic? It's so sad this trying to keep up old hatreds-my grandmother was one of those people who actually DID suffer poverty in Ireland under english rule, and she worked in the houses of rich Englishmen (some of whom were not very nice) but she never held anything against the normal average English person.
Tom Lacy 6 years ago
ireland is the only country in western europe whose population today is less than it was 175 years ago; the major reason is the great famine of the 1840's.

Leave a comment

U.S. Ambassador to Ireland

O’Malley, Kevin
ambassador-image

 

On July 29, 2014, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the nomination of Kevin F. O’Malley to be ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, a post that has been vacant since 2012. He was confirmed by the full Senate on September 18. O’Malley, an attorney in St. Louis, is a longtime supporter of President Barack Obama.

 

O’Malley has strong Irish roots; all four of his grandparents were born in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland. O’Malley was born in St. Louis and grew up there, but attended high school at St. Vincent’s Seminary in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, with the intent of entering the priesthood. Instead, he returned home and attended Saint Louis University, earning a B.A. in 1970, taking a break in 1968 to serve as a community ambassador in Prague, Czechslovakia. O’Malley earned a J.D. from the Saint Louis University’s law school in 1973. He also served for a time as an officer in the Army Reserve.

 

After earning his law degree, O’Malley was a special attorney in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Department of Justice and in 1979 was named an assistant U.S. attorney in St. Louis.

 

O’Malley went into private practice in 1983, focusing on defending medical professionals against malpractice claims, but also representing defendants in cases involving foreign trade and securities issues. O’Malley served as an instructor in the American Bar Association’s Central and Eastern European Law Initiative, first in Moscow in 1996 and then in Warsaw in 1999. In 1998, he helped write the nine-volume Federal Jury Practice and Instructions, still a standard reference manual for judges and trial lawyers.

 

O’Malley worked for his own firm until 2003 and then joined Greensfelder, Hemker and Gale in St. Louis. In 2004, he secured a huge defense verdict in a medical negligence case and the following year successfully defended a pharmaceutical executive in a Medicare kickback trial.

 

In 2009, O’Malley was appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to be the only non-physician on the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, the medical licensing board in the state. The appointment was criticized in some quarters because of the belief that O’Malley’s status as a malpractice defense attorney would cause him to defend physicians whose fitness to hold a license was questioned.

 

O’Malley worked as an adjunct professor of law at St. Louis University School of Law from 1979 to 1985 and at Washington University School of Law in 2013-2014.

 

O’Malley has strong ties to the Democratic Party, campaigned for Obama in 2008 and was on the credentials committee for the Democratic Convention that year in Denver. He was part of a group that fought to have the party’s 2012 convention held in St. Louis, but the effort was unsuccessful, with the event being staged in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

In his confirmation hearing, O’Malley was asked about his position on the release of information from the Boston College Belfast History Project on the Northern Ireland conflict. Many participants from both sides of “The Troubles” were asked to talk about their role in the fighting for the project, with the proviso that the interviews would be made public only upon the participant’s death. However, the British government sought some of the interviews via a treaty obligation and some information was turned over to Britain. Although the disclosures have caused some participants to be arrested, O’Malley said he didn’t think the disclosures would harm the still-sensitive peace process.

 

Until being nominated for the Dublin post, O’Malley held dual Irish and American citizenship, but gave up his Irish citizenship to accept the ambassadorial position. O’Malley and his wife, Dena, have two sons, Brendan and Ryan. 

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Testimony before Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

more

Previous U.S. Ambassador to Ireland

Rooney, Dan
ambassador-image

 

Nominated on St. Patrick’s Day by President Barack Obama to be the next United States ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney is considered to be the most high-profile figure ever to represent the U.S. in Ireland, thanks to his ownership of the famed Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). His connections to Ireland are unmistakable, but what most likely got the Irish-American the ambassadorship was his pivotal endorsement of Obama during the contentious Democratic primary in Pennsylvania in 2008.
 
Born July 30, 1932, into a Catholic Irish-American family, Rooney grew up the oldest of five sons on the blighted north side of Pittsburgh, PA. His father, Arthur “Art” Joseph Rooney, used his winnings ($2,500) from a horse race to start an NFL franchise, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in 1933. Dan Rooney attended North Catholic High School, where he played quarterback on the football team. As a teenager, Rooney seriously considered becoming a priest. Instead, the devout Catholic attended Duquesne University and graduated with a degree in economics in 1955. He married his wife, Patricia Reagan, at age 19, and they eventually had nine children together.
 
After graduation, he went to work for the Steelers, becoming director of personnel. He was appointed team president in 1975 and was given a great deal of power by his father. Following Art Rooney’s death in 1988, Dan Rooney became lead owner of the team, even though shares of the team were evenly divided between him and his four brothers (Art Jr., Timothy, Patrick and John), each with 16%, with the remaining 20% held by another Pittsburgh family, the McGinleys.
 
The Steelers are one of the most successful franchises in the NFL. Since 1972, the team has been AFC Central Division champions 14 times, AFC champions seven times, and Super Bowl champions six times—a league record.
 
While Rooney has generally avoided the spotlight, he has been an active owner behind the scenes. Rooney helped to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement of 1982 that ended a strike that lasted half of the season. He was one of the architects of the salary cap, which was implemented in 1993, and has been credited for coming up with the “Rooney Rule,” adopted in December 2002, which requires NFL teams with head coaching and general manager vacancies to interview at least one minority candidate. Rooney was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
 
Since 2003, Rooney has somewhat limited his control of the franchise, giving more power to his son, Art Rooney II, who holds the title of team president. In July 2008, Dan and his son admitted what had long been suspected—that they were seeking to buy out Dan Rooney’s brothers because of their ownership of casinos and other gambling establishments. NFL rules prohibit owners from owning, directly or indirectly, any interest in gambling operations. The Rooneys own Yonkers Raceway, a harness racing track outside of New York City, and the Palm Beach Kennel Club, a Greyhound racetrack in West Palm Beach, FL. A deal was reportedly reached in November 2008, whereby the four brothers would gain $750 million for selling their shares to Dan Rooney and his son.
 
Although revered as a franchise and beloved by many Pennsylvanians, the Steelers and Rooney have not escaped controversy. In August 2004, it was reported that the Steelers received $5 million in state funds for a new $12-million amphitheater. This was in addition to the $158 million in public subsidies the organization received to build Heinz Field, where the team plays its home games. It was pointed out that because the Steelers don’t own any taxable property, the Rooneys have avoided paying city and county real estate taxes.
 
Rooney was caught up in controversy in 2008 when he declined to discipline one of his players, James Harrison, who was arrested after slapping his girlfriend. Rooney initially appeared to excuse Harrison’s violence, which followed a disagreement with the woman over christening their son.
 
But perhaps the most controversial action Rooney ever took was to come out in support of Obama during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign. Rooney—a lifelong, anti-abortion Republican—publicly endorsed Obama as he battled rival Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania primary. Rooney raised money for Obama, campaigned in the western part of the state for him, and presented the liberal Democrat with his own personalized Pittsburgh Steelers jersey. This act infuriated many Steelers fans who flooded the conservative-leaning Pittsburgh Tribune Review editorial board with letters.
 
Rooney’s son, Jim Rooney, explained why his father backed Obama: “There was just a visceral connection between my father and Obama. He loved how enthusiastic young people were getting for him, and when you get to my father’s age, you start to hope the future is bright for generations beyond.”
 
Rooney has been seriously involved in efforts to help Ireland. He is the benefactor of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, which has helped the careers of writers such as Desmond Hogan, Kate Cruise O’Brien, Glenn Patterson and Colum McCann. He is vice-chairman of The American Ireland Fund, which he co-founded in 1976 and has helped raise $300 million for peace and education programs in Ireland.
 
He is also a major backer of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, a program founded in 1989 to promote mutual understanding between the communities in Northern Ireland and to support Ireland’s economic development. Much of Rooney’s focus has been on Newry, where his father’s family came from, to help bring U.S. investment to the town and arrange exchange programs in Pittsburgh for Newry youth.
 
Rooney’s legacy in Northern Ireland is reflected in a Steelers-themed bar in a disused linen mill in one of the roughest parts of northwest Belfast.
 
Rooney, a millionaire several times over, thanks to the Steelers’ $900 million value, currently lives with his wife in the North Pittsburgh home he grew up in—a modest red brick, two-story house with a small front porch. The house is only blocks away from Heinz Field, and Rooney has often walked to games through the struggling neighborhood.
 
The king of Pittsburgh (by Denis Staunton, Irish Times)
Rooney Rule helps reward namesake (by Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN)
Why Dan Rooney Fell for Obama (by Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The Rooneys of Pittsburgh Hold to Their Trusted Path (by Leonard Shapiro, Washington Post)

more
Bookmark and Share
News
more less
Overview

Ireland was settled around 6000 BC by people of Celtic and Anglo-Norman origin. Legend has it that St. Patrick arrived in 432 and helped to convert the country to Christianity from Paganism and Druidism. Christianity became intertwined with the nation’s history through Viking invasions and the Norman Conquest of the 12th Century. Although Ireland became part of the British Empire in 1800, the country fought for its independence, first during the Easter Rising of 1916 and then during the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921. Ireland battled religious strife between its Catholic and Protestant populations, as well as economic difficulties, including the Great Famine of 1845-1852. Since then, Ireland has successfully dealt with “the Troubles” in the northern part of the country and jump-started its formerly stagnant economy. Recently, liberalized social policies have led to unionist and nationalist political victories at the national level, as well as the full disarmament of the Irish Republican Army.

more less
Basic Information

Lay of the Land: The island of Ireland is separated from Scotland on the northeast by the North Channel, from England on the east by the Irish Sea, and from Wales on the southeast by St. George’s Channel. Its west coast fronts the Atlantic Ocean. The terrain gives Ireland the appearance of a giant bathtub; the mountainous coastal rim protects the low-lying interior of farms, pastures, bogs, and cities.

 
Population: 4.2 million
 
Religions: Catholic 86.8%, Church of Ireland 2.9%, Muslim 0.8%, other Christian 0.7%, Presbyterian 0.6%, Orthodox Christian 0.5%, Methodist 0.3%, Jewish 0.1%, unaffiliated 6%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Irish 87.4%, other white 7.5%, Asian 1.3%, black 1.1%, mixed 1.1%, other 1.6%
 
Languages: English (official) 65.5%, Irish Gaelic 6.6%, Scots 2.5%, Shelta 0.2%.
 

 

more less
History
The Irish people derive primarily from Celtic origins, with some Anglo-Norman ancestry. The country’s earliest inhabitants, during the Stone Age, arrived around 6000 BC. About 4,000 years later, tribes from southern Europe arrived and established the Neolithic culture in Ireland. 
 
During the Bronze Age, a new group of people arrived in Ireland, forging weapons and ornaments in gold and bronze. The Iron Age began with the invasion of the Celts, who had spread across Europe and Great Britain during the preceding centuries.
 
Legend has it that St. Patrick arrived in Ireland in 432 AD. In the years that followed, he worked to convert the island nation to Christianity. For a time, this new faith vied with paganism and druidism, but ultimately Christianity thrived, and the country soon erected monasteries and undertook the study of Christian theology and Latin.
 
Along with the transition to Christianity came a more profound focus on missionary work. Some Irish missionaries were sent to England and the European continent, and this continued to keep the Latin and Greek traditions alive during the Dark Ages. Related arts and crafts, such as manuscript illumination, metalworking and sculpture produced some of the era’s best works, including the Book of Kells.
 
Although Ireland endured several centuries of Viking invasions and settlement, during the 12th Century the Normans conquered the country. The Normans assimilated into Irish society for the next few centuries until the Scottish and English Protestants arrived in the 17th Century.
 
In 1800 the Irish Parliament passed the Act of Union with Great Britain, making Ireland part of the United Kingdom until 1921. During this time, religious freedom was allowed. But following close on the heels of this new freedom was a severe economic depression and famine from 1845-1851. This occurred when the potato crop failed, and as a result, millions died. Millions more emigrated to the United States in what became the first of many waves to do so.
 
In 1858, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, also known as the Fenians, was founded as a secret society dedicated to armed rebellion against the British. In 1874, the Home Rule Movement became the organization’s aboveground counterpart and sought to create change for Irish independence.
 
Charles Stewart Parnell became an important leader during his time, helping to force the British government after 1885 to introduce several home rule bills. Irish nationalism surged, and Sinn Fein (“Ourselves Alone”) began as an open political movement devoted to Irish sovereignty.
 
In 1914, a home rule bill passed that wasn’t enacted until the close of World War I. In 1916, Padraic Pearse and James Connolly led the unsuccessful Easter Rising which declared Ireland an independent republic. The rebellion lasted a week and destroyed much of Dublin. The British military eventually executed the leaders of the rebellion and threatened to conscript the Irish to fight in World War I. This backfired, garnering massive support for Sinn Fein in the 1918 general election.
 
Tensions with the British continued to grow, and the British army tried to dissolve Sinn Fein in many ways. The Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921 was finally sparked when these attempts failed.
 
In 1921, the war ended, and the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed. This created the Irish Free State, which was comprised of 26 counties within the British Commonwealth. Ireland was partitioned into two parts: Ireland and Northern Ireland. This was meant to be a temporary measure. The six predominantly Protestant counties of Ulster in Northern Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom, with limited self-government. Many Irish people disagreed with the partitioning, as well as the country’s subservience to the English monarchy. This opposition soon led to a civil war that lasted from June 28, 1922 until May 24, 1923.
 
In 1932, Eamon de Valera became prime minister. Under his rule, a new constitution was enacted in 1937. British military bases were soon withdrawn, and the ports were returned to Irish control.
 
During World War II, Ireland remained neutral. However, tens of thousands volunteered for service in the British forces. During this time, food was rationed, as well as coal and peat. In 1948, the Irish government formally declared the country a republic, and Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
 
During the 1960s, Ireland underwent a major economic change under Prime Minister Seán Lemass and Secretary of the Department of Finance T.K. Whitaker. The country’s educational system improved, and schooling was made free. Ireland also wanted to join the European Economic Community during this time, but because 90% of its export economy still depended on the United Kingdom market, it could not do so until the UK did, in 1973.
 
During the 1970s, the Irish economy stagnated, and “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland discouraged foreign investment. On January 30, 1972, in an incident known as Bloody Sunday, British forces shot to death 13 Irish protestors.  Later that year, on July 21, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) set off bombs that killed nine people and injured 130. This was known as Bloody Friday. The Irish currency was established in 1979, making it separate from the English sterling. Further economic reforms during the 1980s, along with the end of the Troubles, led to increased economic growth and mass immigration to the country, mostly people from Asia and Eastern Europe. 
 
This period came to be known as the Celtic Tiger and was later used as a model for economic growth by the Eastern Bloc states. Irish society was also liberalized during this time, allowing divorce, decriminalizing homosexuality, and allowing abortion in limited circumstances. On November 15, 1985, the British and Irish governments signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, signaling their dedication to finding a political solution to their differences.
 
On December 2, 1999, unionists and nationalists agreed to share limited areas of government. Several breakdowns in trust occurred in 2000, 2002 and 2007, as both sides tried to decommission paramilitary weapons and remove Army bases.
 
In 2003, the moderate Ulster Unionist and (nationalist) Social Democrat and Labour parties lost their dominant positions to the hard-line Democratic Unionist and (nationalist) Sinn Féin parties. On July 28, 2005, the Provisional IRA (PIRA) announced the end of its armed campaign and on September 25, 2005, international weapons inspectors supervised the full disarmament of the PIRA.
 
History of Ireland (Wikipedia)

 

more less
Ireland's Newspapers
more less
History of U.S. Relations with Ireland

The Irish were among the Europeans to first to reach America. Irish-born William Ayers was a crewman on Columbus’s 1492 voyage. Immigrants in the 17th Century were mainly poor Catholics, coming over as indentured servants or unskilled laborers. 

 
Immigration increased in the 18th Century, as dissident Presbyterians and other Protestants sought refuge in a predominantly Protestant America. Pressure to emigrate mounted as a result of numerous factors. Massive population growth in Ireland, growing from 3 million in 1725 to more than 8 million in 1841, led to intermittent famines, culminating in the horrific Potato Famine of 1845-1851, during which time 1.5 million people died and another 1.7 million emigrated. The British attempt to eradicate Irish culture and language, and their persecution of Catholics specifically, pushed another significant wave to America’s shores. 
 
Immigration remained high through World War I and up until the passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924, and legal immigration has remained negligible since then. Sincef the early 1980s, there has been a significant influx of highly educated young Irish individuals, seeking employment illegally as construction workers, bartenders, and waiters in the traditional Irish centers of New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. The number of illegals is estimated to be between 100,000 and 150,000. 
 
Emigration, long a vital element in the US-Irish relationship, declined significantly with Ireland’s economic boom in the 1990s. However, Irish citizens do continue the common practice of taking temporary residence overseas for work or study, mainly in the US, UK, and elsewhere in Europe, before returning to establish careers in Ireland. The US J-1 visa program, for example, remains a popular means for Irish youths to work temporarily in the United States.
 
During the long civil war in North Ireland, a perception existed that many Irish-Americans provided support to the IRA. “It is true that a small portion of Irish-Americans supported the Irish Republican Army, but the importance of the money they raised and the weapons they procured for the republican movement tended to be exaggerated—mostly by the British, Irish and American governments in an attempt to persuade Americans not to contribute to IRA support groups,” according to Kevin Cullen, who has written extensively about Ireland.
 
America and the Conflict (by Kevin Cullen, PBS Frontline)
more less
Current U.S. Relations with Ireland

 

Noted Irish-Americans
Andrew Jackson, son of Scotch-Irish immigrant parents, served as the 7th president of the United States from 1829-1837.  
Woodrow Wilson was of Scots-Irish descent and served as the 28th president of the United States from 1912-1920 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920 for his efforts in at the Paris Peace Conference after WWI.  
John F. Kennedy was the first and only Irish-Catholic American elected President of the United States.   He served as the 35th President from 1961 to 1963 when he was assassinated.
Ronald Reagan became the oldest man to be elected president and served as the 40th President from 1981-1989.  His father was of Irish Catholic ancestry and his mother was of Scots-English ancestry.
Best known today for his performance in Singing in the Rain, Gene Kelly was a celebrated dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, director and producer who received the Academy Honorary Award and 1952 for his career achievements.  His grandparents were Irish Roman Catholic immigrants.
James Cagney was the son of an Irish American father and an Irish-Norwegian mother.  He received an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1942 for his portrayal of George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy
Henry Ford was the son of an Irish father and Belgian mother.  He was the founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of the modern assembly line which transformed the American industry.
Born John Martin Feeney, American film director John Ford was the son of Irish parents was famous for his westerners such as Stagecoach and adaptations of 20th century Americans novels such as Grapes of Wrath.  He holds the record for most Best Director Academy Awards.
Often considered the "Master of Suspense," Alfred Hitchcock is most famous for his direction of Psycho as well as many other classics such as The Lady Vanishes,Rebecca, Rear Window, Vertigo, and North by Northwest.  He was of Irish heritage.
Michael Moore is an Academy-Award winning director and producer of Irish heritage.  He directed and produced Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Sicko, which are three of the top five highest-grossing documentaries of all time, and was one of Time Magazine's world's 100 most influential people.
George "Bugs" Moran, of Polish-Irish descent, was the last of the North Side gang leaders in Chicago and was Al Capone's arch enemy.
Raymond Chandler was a crime writer of Irish parentage whose style had a dramatic influence on the modern private eye story.
Mary Higgins Clark is the daughter of Irish immigrants and the best-selling author of 24 suspense novels, including Where are the Children?
Best known for his espionage and military science novels, Tom Clancy is a best-selling American author of Irish heritage who is one of only two authors to have sold two million copies on a first printing.
Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald is the author of The Great Gatsby.  He was the grandson of Irish immigrants.
Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell is the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gone With the Wind.  She is of Irish-Catholic ancestry.
Born Howard Allen O'Brien, Anne Rice comes from a Catholic Irish-American family and is the author of gothic and religious-themed books, the best known being Interview with a Vampire, and Queen of the Damned
New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd of Catholic Irish-American heritage, wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning series of columns on the Monica Lewinsky scandal. 
Sean Hannity is an American radio and television host, author and conservative political commentator.  He is the grandson of Irish immigrants.
Bill O'Reilly is a television host, columnist, author and political commentator of Irish heritage best known for hosting the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel.
Chris Matthews is a news anchor and political commentator of Irish heritage best known for his shows Hardball with Chris Matthews and The Chris Matthews Show.
Timothy John Russet was an American television journalist and lawyer who was the longest serving moderator on NBC's Meet the Press.  He was the son of Irish American Catholic parents.
Emmy-winning television host and writer, and comedian Conan O'Brien is of Irish ancestry and best known as the host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Best known as the presenter of the 1950s TV show called The Ed Sullivan Show, Ed Sullivan was an American entertainment writer and television host, and the grandson of Irish immigrants.
Audie Murphy was one of WWII's most decorated soldiers who later became an actor, appearing in 44 American films, including the popular To Hell and Back.  He was of Irish descent.
Born Henry McCarty but better known as Billy the Kid and William H. Bonney, Billy was a notorious 19th century American frontier outlaw and folk hero who was the son of Irish immigrants.
Known as the last heavyweight champion of bare-knuckle boxing, John Sullivan was also the first heavyweight champion of gloved boxing.  He was the son of Irish immigrant parents.
Mariah Carey is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and actress who is best known for her vocal range and is one of the best-selling female artists of all time.  Her mother is of Irish descent and her father is of Afro-Venezuelan descent.
Christina Aguilera is a Grammy-winning American singer and songwriter.  Her mother is Irish Catholic and her father is Ecuadorian.
Born as Harry Lillis Crosby, Bing Crosby was a popular singer and actor who is widely regarded as one of the most popular musical acts in history.  His father was English-American and his mother was Irish-American.
Gracie Allen was an American comedian is Irish descent who became internationally famous as the partner and foil to her husband George Burns.
Generally considered one of the finest actors in motion picture history, Spencer Tracy appeared in 74 films and was a nine-time nominee for Academy Award for Best Actor.  His father was of Irish descent and his mother was of English descent.
Errol Flynn was an actor best known for his romantic swashbuckling roles in Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Adventures of Don Juan.  He was of Irish-English descent.
Jackie Gleason, son of Irish immigrants, was an actor, comedian, and composer who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Hustler.
Princess Grace of Monaco was an American film and stage actress who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for The Country Girl.  Her father was the son of Irish immigrants and her mother was the daughter of German immigrants.
Born John Nicholson, Jack Nicholson is an actor, writer, producer, director and screenwriter, and has been nominated for an Academy Award 12 times with three wins for As Good as it Gets, Terms of Endearment, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  His family self-identifies as Irish although his mother is of Irish, English and Dutch descent.
Actor Martin Sheen is best known for his Emmy and Golden Globe winning portrayal of President Josiah Bartlet in The West Wing.  He is the son of an Irish immigrant mother and Spanish immigrant father.
Diane Keaton is an actress, director and producer of Irish descent who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Annie Hall.  
Mia Farrow is an actress, singer and former fashion model who has been nominated for numerous Golden Globe awards for her roles in John and Mary, Broadway Danny Rose, and Alice.  She is the daughter of Irish actress Maureen O'Sullivan.
John Travolta
Best known for his roles in Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Pulp Fiction, John Travolta is an actor, dancer, and singer of Italian- and Irish-American parentage.
Actor, director, producer, screenwriter Mel Gibson is best known for directing and starring in Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ, which won him an Academy Award for Best Director.  His mother was Irish-born and his father was of Australian descent.
Rosie O'Donnell is a television host, stand-up comedian, actress, singer and author well known for her LGBT activism.  Her mother was Irish American and her father was an Irish immigrant.
John Cusack is a screenwriter and actor of Irish descent best known for his role in High Fidelity.
Film and stage actor Matthew Broderick is best known for his role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Godzilla, and both the film and Broadway productions of The Producers.  He is of Jewish and Irish descent.
Host of NBC's late night talk show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Fallon is a comedian and actor of Irish descent best known for his work on Saturday Night Live.
Lindsay Lohan is an actress, model, and singer best known for her roles in Disney's The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls and Herbie Fully Loaded.  She is of Irish-Italian descent.
Child-star Macaulay Culkin is of Irish descent and best known for portraying Kevin McCallister in the first two Home Alone movies.
Whitey Ford was a Major League Baseball pitcher of Irish descent for the New York Yankees and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
Jason Kidd led the New Jersey Nets to two consecutive NBA finals in 2002 and 2003 and is generally regarded to be one of the best players of his generation. His father was African American and his mother is of Irish descent.
John Elway
John Elway was an NFL football quarterback of Irish descent who spent his entire professional career with the Denver Broncos and led his team to consecutive AFC Championships from 1986 to 1989.
John McEnroe
Former World No. 1 professional tennis player John McEnroe won seven Grand Slam singles titles, nine Grand Slam men's double titles, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title. His father is of Irish descent.
 
Relations between the United States and Ireland have long been based on shared ancestral ties and shared values. Since Ireland’s admission to the European Union, relations between the US and Ireland have improved even more. In certain cases, Ireland has acted as a bridge between the US and the EU, and during Ireland’s 2004 EU presidency, Ireland worked to strengthen ties that had been strained by the US’s creation of the Iraq War. 
 
According to the 2000 census, 30,528,470 people identified themselves as being of Irish ancestry. 
 
In 2006, 945,000 Americans visited Ireland. Tourism has grown every year since 2002, when 759,000 Americans traveled to Ireland.
 
In 2006, 414,423 Irish visited America. The number of tourists has increased significantly every year since 2002, when 259,687 Irish came to the United States.
 
more less
Where Does the Money Flow

From 2003 to 2007, US imports from Ireland were dominated by medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations, which averaged $16 billion annually. Other top imports were other scientific, medical and hospital equipment, averaging $2 billion; soft beverages and processed coffee, averaging $1.7 billion; industrial organic chemicals, averaging $1.4 billion; clocks and other household goods, averaging $1.8 billion.

 
US imports from Ireland on the decline included fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides, decreasing from $142.5 million to $94.6 million, and computer accessories, peripherals and parts, down from $902.7 million to $582 million.
 
During the same period, US exports to Ireland were dominated by civilian aircraft, increasing from $1.8 billion to $2.4 billion; finished metal shapes, moving up from $62 million to $67.6 million; plastic materials, increasing from $111.9 million to $170.2 million; other industrial supplies, up from $159.9 million to $169.8 million; and pharmaceutical preparations, up from $618.4 million to $911 million.
 
US exports to Ireland on the decline included computer accessories, which decreased from $1 billion to $858 million; organic chemicals, down from $243.8 million to $156.5 million; electric apparatus, moving down from $232.9 million to $224 million; and semiconductors, decreasing from $395.4 million to $217.4 million. 
 
The US sold $11.1 million of defense articles and services to Ireland in 2007. The US does not give aid to Ireland.
 
more less
Controversies

North Ireland Past Derails Awards Ceremony

In September 2008, plans to honor an Irish official with a peace award were disrupted when a colleague’s Sinn Fein’s past came to light. Stormont Junior Minister Jeffrey Donaldson was due to accept the Peace Dove Award in New York, but then a controversial BBC-TV program chronicling the 1983 Maze prison mass escape revealed how Donaldson’s compatriot, Gerry Kelly, shot a prison guard during the melee. Kelly said he used a gun smuggled into the top security jail as part of an escape plan involving 38 IRA prisoners. Donaldson and Kelly were in the US to undertake a series of engagements, with the highlight being the receipt of the Peace Dove Award when they both addressed the Co-Operation Ireland dinner in New York.
more less
Human Rights

According to the State Department, in 2007 there were some reports in Ireland of police abuse and inadequate care for prisoners with mental disabilities. There were also instances of discrimination against immigrants, racial minorities, and Travellers, of trafficking in persons, mistreatment of children, and domestic violence.

 
Human rights groups continued to criticize understaffing and poor infrastructure at the, the country’s only secure hospital for prisoners with mental disabilities. The Central Mental Hospital director estimated that approximately 200 patients in prison needed mental health treatment but were unable to receive it due to a lack of space.
 
The use of special arrest and detention authority continued, primarily for those involved in paramilitary organizations.
 
There were isolated reports of possible government corruption. During the year a Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters & Payments, commonly known as the Mahon Tribunal, continued to scrutinize ethical and legal questions regarding the prime minister’s acceptance of financial payments and loans from friends and business associates during his tenure as minister of finance in 1993-94.
 
Discrimination against racial minorities, including immigrants and Travellers, remained a problem.
 
Women enjoy the same legal rights as men, including rights under family law, property law, and in the judicial system. Nonetheless, inequalities persisted regarding pay and promotions in both the public and private sectors. Women constituted 42% of the labor force but were underrepresented in senior management positions.
 
There were reports that Ireland was a transit and destination country for a number of trafficking victims from Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. There were also unconfirmed reports that the country was a transit point for persons trafficked to or from Northern Ireland. NGOs reported that women were smuggled or trafficked into the country primarily for sexual exploitation and that men may be smuggled or trafficked for work in the construction industry or the agricultural sector.
 
Societal discrimination and violence against immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities, including Asians, East Europeans, and Africans, continued to be a problem. Racially motivated incidents involved physical violence, intimidation, graffiti, and verbal slurs; the majority of such incidents took place in public places. In a report released in May 2008, The Economic and Social Research Institute reported that 12.5% of the population had experienced discrimination. A November 2006 report found that 35% of immigrants interviewed had experienced discrimination or harassment in public places.
 
more less
Debate
more less
Past Ambassadors

Frederick A. Sterling

Appointment: Feb 19, 1927
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 27, 1927
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 7, 1934
Note: Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
 
W.W. McDowell
Appointment: Sep 13, 1933
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; did not serve under this appointment. Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
W.W. McDowell
Appointment: Jan 15, 1934
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 27, 1934
Termination of Mission: Died at post, Apr 9, 1934
Note: Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
 
Alvin Mansfield Owsley
Appointment: May 15, 1935
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 27, 1935
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 7, 1937
Note: Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
 
John Cudahy
Appointment: May 28, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 23, 1937
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 15, 1940
Note: Commissioned to the Irish Free State.
 
David Gray
Appointment: Feb 16, 1940
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 15, 1940
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 28, 1947
 
George A. Garrett
Appointment: Apr 10, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 28, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 27, 1951
 
Francis P. Matthews
Appointment: Jul 6, 1951
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 22, 1951
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 7, 1952
 
William Howard Taft III
Appointment: Apr 2, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: May 13, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 25, 1957
Note: Grandson of William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States
 
Scott McLeod
Appointment: May 9, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 17, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left Ireland, Mar 15, 1961
 
Edward G. Stockdale
Appointment: Mar 29, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 17, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 7, 1962
 
Matthew H. McCloskey
Appointment: Jul 12, 1962
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 19, 1962
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 7, 1964
 
Raymond R. Guest
Appointment: Mar 11, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 28, 1965
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 7, 1968
 
Leo J. Sheridan
Appointment: Sep 26, 1968
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 1, 1968
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 1, 1969
 
John D.J. Moore
Appointment: Apr 19, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 23, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 30, 1975
 
Walter J.P. Curley, Jr.
Appointment: Jul 23, 1975
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 18, 1975
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 2, 1977
 
William V. Shannon
Appointment: Jun 22, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 20, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 7, 1981
 
William E. McCann
Note: Not commissioned; nomination of Mar 17, 1981 not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Peter H. Dailey
Appointment: Mar 15, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 30, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 15, 1984
 
Robert F. Kane
Appointment: Feb 28, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 6, 1984
Termination of Mission: May 29, 1985
 
Margaret M. O’Shaughnessy Heckler
Appointment: Dec 17, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 30, 1986
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 20, 1989
 
Richard Anthony Moore
Appointment: Aug 7, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Sept 19, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, June 15, 1992
 
William Henry Gerald FitzGerald
Appointment: Jun 15, 1992
Presentation of Credentials: June 26, 1992
Termination of Mission: Left post, June 5, 1993
 
Jean Kennedy Smith
Appointment: Jun 17, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: June 24, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 17, 1998
 
Michael J. Sullivan
Appointment: Oct 22, 1998
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 21, 1999
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 20, 2001
 
Richard J. Egan
Appointment: Aug 29, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 10, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 21, 2002
 
James Casey Kenny
Appointment: Oct 6, 2003
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 31, 2003
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 13, 2006
 
more less
Ireland's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Anderson, Anne

 

Anne Anderson presented her credentials as Ireland’s ambassador to the United States to President Barack Obama on September 17, 2013. It’s the fifth ambassadorial posting for Anderson, a career foreign service officer.

 

Anderson was born in July 1952 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland. She moved with her family to Kilkenny, and then Dublin as her father, a psychiatric nurse, got different jobs. Anderson attended University College Dublin, graduating at age 19 with a B.A. in history and immediately started in the economic division of Ireland’s foreign service. She later earned a diploma in legal studies from King’s Inns.

 

Geneva was the site of Anderson’s first foreign posting, in 1976. She was part of the Irish mission to the United Nations. She was stationed there four years, although she worked for six months in Belgrade. In 1980, Anderson returned to Dublin to work on Eastern European issues as first secretary in the political division of the ministry of foreign affairs. Anderson’s first posting to the United States came in 1983, when she was economic attaché, then press attaché, at the Irish Embassy. Much of her time was spent explaining the 1985 Irish-Anglo accords to American audiences. Her daughter Claire was born in Washington during this period.

 

Anderson returned home in 1987 to serve as counselor in the Anglo-Irish division of the ministry. In 1991, she was made assistant secretary of administration, with ambassadorial rank, for the ministry and served in that position until 1995.

 

Anderson went back to Geneva, this time as head of Ireland’s mission to the UN. While there, she served for a year as chair of the UN Commission on Civil Rights. In 2001, Anderson moved to Brussels as the Irish representative to the European Union.

 

In 2005, Anderson was transferred to Paris as Ireland’s ambassador to France. During her time in this position, she organized an extensive renovation of the embassy, provoking some criticism back home over its cost. During part of this period, she was also accredited as Ireland’s ambassador to Monaco. Anderson moved to New York as the Irish ambassador to the United Nations, serving until taking the Washington post. Anderson is a frequent lecturer at U.S. universities.

 

Since becoming ambassador to the United States, Anderson has pushed for immigration reform. There are as many as 50,000 undocumented Irish in the U.S.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Ireland’s First Female Ambassador to the U.S. Anne Anderson (by Debbie McGoldrick, Irish Central)

Official Biography

more less
Ireland's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
more less

Comments

Dvmanh 1 year ago
It shows that they have moved on from the past more than you. I don't know any of my friends in Ireland who cosdnier reading an English book or paper as bowing down they would laugh at such a ridiculous notion! In fact if they read only Irish books/papers they would seem narrow,insular and stupid. Oh, and I notice you are writing in English? Perhaps you would like to show us all the way by only writing and communicating in Gaelic? It's so sad this trying to keep up old hatreds-my grandmother was one of those people who actually DID suffer poverty in Ireland under english rule, and she worked in the houses of rich Englishmen (some of whom were not very nice) but she never held anything against the normal average English person.
Tom Lacy 6 years ago
ireland is the only country in western europe whose population today is less than it was 175 years ago; the major reason is the great famine of the 1840's.

Leave a comment

U.S. Ambassador to Ireland

O’Malley, Kevin
ambassador-image

 

On July 29, 2014, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the nomination of Kevin F. O’Malley to be ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, a post that has been vacant since 2012. He was confirmed by the full Senate on September 18. O’Malley, an attorney in St. Louis, is a longtime supporter of President Barack Obama.

 

O’Malley has strong Irish roots; all four of his grandparents were born in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland. O’Malley was born in St. Louis and grew up there, but attended high school at St. Vincent’s Seminary in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, with the intent of entering the priesthood. Instead, he returned home and attended Saint Louis University, earning a B.A. in 1970, taking a break in 1968 to serve as a community ambassador in Prague, Czechslovakia. O’Malley earned a J.D. from the Saint Louis University’s law school in 1973. He also served for a time as an officer in the Army Reserve.

 

After earning his law degree, O’Malley was a special attorney in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Department of Justice and in 1979 was named an assistant U.S. attorney in St. Louis.

 

O’Malley went into private practice in 1983, focusing on defending medical professionals against malpractice claims, but also representing defendants in cases involving foreign trade and securities issues. O’Malley served as an instructor in the American Bar Association’s Central and Eastern European Law Initiative, first in Moscow in 1996 and then in Warsaw in 1999. In 1998, he helped write the nine-volume Federal Jury Practice and Instructions, still a standard reference manual for judges and trial lawyers.

 

O’Malley worked for his own firm until 2003 and then joined Greensfelder, Hemker and Gale in St. Louis. In 2004, he secured a huge defense verdict in a medical negligence case and the following year successfully defended a pharmaceutical executive in a Medicare kickback trial.

 

In 2009, O’Malley was appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to be the only non-physician on the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, the medical licensing board in the state. The appointment was criticized in some quarters because of the belief that O’Malley’s status as a malpractice defense attorney would cause him to defend physicians whose fitness to hold a license was questioned.

 

O’Malley worked as an adjunct professor of law at St. Louis University School of Law from 1979 to 1985 and at Washington University School of Law in 2013-2014.

 

O’Malley has strong ties to the Democratic Party, campaigned for Obama in 2008 and was on the credentials committee for the Democratic Convention that year in Denver. He was part of a group that fought to have the party’s 2012 convention held in St. Louis, but the effort was unsuccessful, with the event being staged in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

In his confirmation hearing, O’Malley was asked about his position on the release of information from the Boston College Belfast History Project on the Northern Ireland conflict. Many participants from both sides of “The Troubles” were asked to talk about their role in the fighting for the project, with the proviso that the interviews would be made public only upon the participant’s death. However, the British government sought some of the interviews via a treaty obligation and some information was turned over to Britain. Although the disclosures have caused some participants to be arrested, O’Malley said he didn’t think the disclosures would harm the still-sensitive peace process.

 

Until being nominated for the Dublin post, O’Malley held dual Irish and American citizenship, but gave up his Irish citizenship to accept the ambassadorial position. O’Malley and his wife, Dena, have two sons, Brendan and Ryan. 

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Testimony before Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

more

Previous U.S. Ambassador to Ireland

Rooney, Dan
ambassador-image

 

Nominated on St. Patrick’s Day by President Barack Obama to be the next United States ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney is considered to be the most high-profile figure ever to represent the U.S. in Ireland, thanks to his ownership of the famed Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). His connections to Ireland are unmistakable, but what most likely got the Irish-American the ambassadorship was his pivotal endorsement of Obama during the contentious Democratic primary in Pennsylvania in 2008.
 
Born July 30, 1932, into a Catholic Irish-American family, Rooney grew up the oldest of five sons on the blighted north side of Pittsburgh, PA. His father, Arthur “Art” Joseph Rooney, used his winnings ($2,500) from a horse race to start an NFL franchise, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in 1933. Dan Rooney attended North Catholic High School, where he played quarterback on the football team. As a teenager, Rooney seriously considered becoming a priest. Instead, the devout Catholic attended Duquesne University and graduated with a degree in economics in 1955. He married his wife, Patricia Reagan, at age 19, and they eventually had nine children together.
 
After graduation, he went to work for the Steelers, becoming director of personnel. He was appointed team president in 1975 and was given a great deal of power by his father. Following Art Rooney’s death in 1988, Dan Rooney became lead owner of the team, even though shares of the team were evenly divided between him and his four brothers (Art Jr., Timothy, Patrick and John), each with 16%, with the remaining 20% held by another Pittsburgh family, the McGinleys.
 
The Steelers are one of the most successful franchises in the NFL. Since 1972, the team has been AFC Central Division champions 14 times, AFC champions seven times, and Super Bowl champions six times—a league record.
 
While Rooney has generally avoided the spotlight, he has been an active owner behind the scenes. Rooney helped to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement of 1982 that ended a strike that lasted half of the season. He was one of the architects of the salary cap, which was implemented in 1993, and has been credited for coming up with the “Rooney Rule,” adopted in December 2002, which requires NFL teams with head coaching and general manager vacancies to interview at least one minority candidate. Rooney was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
 
Since 2003, Rooney has somewhat limited his control of the franchise, giving more power to his son, Art Rooney II, who holds the title of team president. In July 2008, Dan and his son admitted what had long been suspected—that they were seeking to buy out Dan Rooney’s brothers because of their ownership of casinos and other gambling establishments. NFL rules prohibit owners from owning, directly or indirectly, any interest in gambling operations. The Rooneys own Yonkers Raceway, a harness racing track outside of New York City, and the Palm Beach Kennel Club, a Greyhound racetrack in West Palm Beach, FL. A deal was reportedly reached in November 2008, whereby the four brothers would gain $750 million for selling their shares to Dan Rooney and his son.
 
Although revered as a franchise and beloved by many Pennsylvanians, the Steelers and Rooney have not escaped controversy. In August 2004, it was reported that the Steelers received $5 million in state funds for a new $12-million amphitheater. This was in addition to the $158 million in public subsidies the organization received to build Heinz Field, where the team plays its home games. It was pointed out that because the Steelers don’t own any taxable property, the Rooneys have avoided paying city and county real estate taxes.
 
Rooney was caught up in controversy in 2008 when he declined to discipline one of his players, James Harrison, who was arrested after slapping his girlfriend. Rooney initially appeared to excuse Harrison’s violence, which followed a disagreement with the woman over christening their son.
 
But perhaps the most controversial action Rooney ever took was to come out in support of Obama during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign. Rooney—a lifelong, anti-abortion Republican—publicly endorsed Obama as he battled rival Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania primary. Rooney raised money for Obama, campaigned in the western part of the state for him, and presented the liberal Democrat with his own personalized Pittsburgh Steelers jersey. This act infuriated many Steelers fans who flooded the conservative-leaning Pittsburgh Tribune Review editorial board with letters.
 
Rooney’s son, Jim Rooney, explained why his father backed Obama: “There was just a visceral connection between my father and Obama. He loved how enthusiastic young people were getting for him, and when you get to my father’s age, you start to hope the future is bright for generations beyond.”
 
Rooney has been seriously involved in efforts to help Ireland. He is the benefactor of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, which has helped the careers of writers such as Desmond Hogan, Kate Cruise O’Brien, Glenn Patterson and Colum McCann. He is vice-chairman of The American Ireland Fund, which he co-founded in 1976 and has helped raise $300 million for peace and education programs in Ireland.
 
He is also a major backer of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, a program founded in 1989 to promote mutual understanding between the communities in Northern Ireland and to support Ireland’s economic development. Much of Rooney’s focus has been on Newry, where his father’s family came from, to help bring U.S. investment to the town and arrange exchange programs in Pittsburgh for Newry youth.
 
Rooney’s legacy in Northern Ireland is reflected in a Steelers-themed bar in a disused linen mill in one of the roughest parts of northwest Belfast.
 
Rooney, a millionaire several times over, thanks to the Steelers’ $900 million value, currently lives with his wife in the North Pittsburgh home he grew up in—a modest red brick, two-story house with a small front porch. The house is only blocks away from Heinz Field, and Rooney has often walked to games through the struggling neighborhood.
 
The king of Pittsburgh (by Denis Staunton, Irish Times)
Rooney Rule helps reward namesake (by Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN)
Why Dan Rooney Fell for Obama (by Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The Rooneys of Pittsburgh Hold to Their Trusted Path (by Leonard Shapiro, Washington Post)

more