Donald Trump praises Irish for ‘tremendous role’ played in US
US president declares March 2018 Irish-American Heritage Month
US President Donald Trump receives a traditional bowl of shamrocks from then taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2017. Photograph: SAul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
US president Donald Trump has praised Irish-Americans for “helping usher in a new era of American prosperity”.
Declaring March 2018 Irish-American Heritage Month, Mr Trump paid tribute to “the tremendous role Irish immigrants and their descendants have played in the development of our great nation”.
Irish-American Heritage Month has been proclaimed by every US president for the month of March since 1991. It encompasses the annual St Patrick’s Day visit by the Irish president to the White House, as well as a range of parades, events, and celebrations at a local and organisational level across the US.
“Irish-American Heritage Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the nearly 33 million Americans with Irish ancestry and their tremendous contributions to the betterment of our country,” Mr Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.
“Irish-Americans have distinguished themselves in every sector of American life. Many have been among the key architects of our country’s greatness. Nine of the men who signed our Declaration of Independence were of Irish origin. Presidents Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and many others have traced their roots to the Emerald Isle. Businessman Henry Ford, founder of one of America’s most iconic companies, was the son of an Irish immigrant.
“For centuries, the tenacious Irish spirit, paired with American self-reliance, has helped Irish immigrants and their descendants realise incredible dreams. With religious devotion, strength rooted in the love of family, and confidence in the promise of America, Irish Americans have engaged in the American experience in robust and meaningful ways.
“Their neighbourhoods, schools, churches, and workplaces have affirmed the importance of faith, industry, and learning. It is, therefore, no wonder that American art, business, and public life are marked by Irish names and symbols.
“This month, Americans across the country will don the traditional green garb as we celebrate the patron saint of Ireland in an annual tribute to our shared and cherished heritage with that great country. As we spend this month honouring Irish Americans, we also pledge to further strengthen our relationship with the Emerald Isle itself, as we look forward to a bright future of greater friendship, cooperation, and commerce for centuries to come.”
Leo Varadkar will visit the White House this St Patrick’s Day for the first time as Taoiseach, continuing a 65-year-old tradition of presenting the US president with a bowl of shamrock. Six other ministers will also visit the US around St Patrick’s Day this year.