On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate the people of Ireland as they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I hope to have the pleasure of spending an hour in Shannon tonight on my way to Russia, the first time I would ever have been able to mark St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland itself.
This year we are also celebrating the historic Hillsborough Agreement in Northern Ireland on the devolution of policing and justice. This was a key step toward realizing the promise of the Good Friday Agreement and the St. Andrews Agreement, and achieving a full and lasting peace in Northern Ireland. The people and government of the Republic of Ireland can be proud of the role they played in supporting the peace process and producing this progress.
Like St. Patrick himself, the Irish have overcome great adversity to become an inspiration to people around the world, as peace-makers and poets, and as immigrants and innovators. The connections between our two countries stretch back for centuries and are still strong today. For millions of Americans, Ireland is the homeland. And for millions more, Ireland represents the progress that is possible when people come together and work together for prosperity and peace.
So all of us join in celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day and the rich heritage it honors. In Chicago the river will run green. The people of Boston and New York will march in famous parades. And across our country Americans will proudly wear shamrock ties and emerald blouses proclaiming their affection for Ireland.
I offer best wishes for a safe and happy holiday to everyone celebrating today in Ireland, in the United States, and around the world.