US ambassador speaks of ‘wave of sentiment for change’ sweeping globe

Kevin O’Malley tells Thanksgiving event US and Ireland separated ‘only by water’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with (from left) American Chamber president Bob Savage, US ambassador Kevin O’Malley and American Chamber chief executive Mark Redmond at the chamber’s Thanksgiving lunch in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

The US ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, said “a wave of sentiment for change is sweeping the globe” which many were finding difficult to understand.

Addressing the American Chamber of Commerce annual Thanksgiving lunch in Dublin just over two weeks after Donald Trump’s surprise election as the next US president, Mr O’Malley said: “It doesn’t make any difference who the next president is. It matters that we understand that the only thing that will ever separate the United States and Ireland is water.”

Term to end

Mr O’Malley, a political appointee, signalled on the night of the US vote that he expected his term to end soon, irrespective of who succeeded in ascending to the Oval Office.

The US election outcome comes months after markets were shocked by UK voters' decision to quit the EU and ahead of a crucial Italian constitutional referendum next month, where prime minster Matteo Renzi is facing defeat, according to polls.


Mr Renzi has promised to step down if the referendum is rejected, which would play into the hands of the insurgent populist Five Star Movement.

“We live in times that challenge us,” said Mr O’Malley.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times