Thank you so much, John. Thank you for the introduction and thank you for picking up the reins in Dan’s absence. This is a difficult time for him and the Rooneys, and all of you have done a wonderful job of putting together this trip for me. And I am delighted to be back in Ireland and here at (inaudible) embassy – (laughter) – in the world to thank you for everything you have done to make even stronger the bonds between our countries and peoples.
But first, I do want to send my deepest condolences to Ambassador Rooney, to his wife Patricia, and to their entire family. Dan Rooney has done so much for (inaudible) the Republic of Ireland and the United States, and he’s built an embassy family nearly as big as the Rooney family – (laughter) – but not quite. And this is a man who could go anywhere in the world for time off, but instead he and his extended family embraced Lewis and Clark’s expedition. He draws inspiration from the extraordinary people that he knows and he works with. Somebody once said Dan Rooney would get the Nobel Prize for Humility, if there were such a prize. And so our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.
And I really do wish he could be here, or be piped in, because he has bragged about you to me and our team in Washington on a non-stop basis. You’d think the mission had won the Super Bowl. (Laughter.) He tells me every time I see him that you are a shining example of his ideals. Not only do you work hard every day on this relationship, with so many different aspects of our engagement, but you raised thousands of dollars for Special Olympics and children with brain damage, you delivered cookies to our troops, you built a house for a poverty-stricken family. You’ve given back to the Irish community in ways large and small.
And in your official capacity, because that’s what you do in your time off, you’re working with our Irish friends to promote food security in Africa, advance research and development in clean energy, and expand our trade and investment to record levels. And I know you will be supporting Ireland as it becomes the president of the EU next year. These recent years, we know, have been tough for the Irish people. And we stand with them in solidarity and support.
And for our wonderful locally employed Irish team, we want to thank you. Would all our Irish employees raise your hands, family members? Let’s give you a round of applause. (Applause.) I learned long ago that ambassadors come and go, secretaries of State come and go, but our locally employed staff remain as the backbone, the memory bank of our missions. And we are so grateful to you.
And to all of our American team representing several different agencies in our government, thank you for what you’ve done every single day, particularly the added responsibilities of preparing for my trip.
And I am so proud to be here in Ireland, representing our country and following the footsteps of President Obama’s incredibly successful trip when he came to Ireland earlier in the year. Because we appreciate what you’re doing and we stand with the Irish people as they make such tough decisions for their own futures and show the remarkable resilience for which they are known worldwide and have made so many contributions to humanity.
I’ll have more to say about Ireland in my upcoming speech at Dublin City University, but suffice it to say that we back in Washington appreciate everything you’re doing to build an even stronger and more prosperous Ireland and a deeper partnership between us.
Thank you all, and let me come down and shake your hands so I can thank you in person. (Applause.)