Eric Adams, the presumptive incoming mayor of New York, paid tribute to the contribution made by Irish-America to the city at an event in Manhattan on Saturday night.
Speaking at a reception hosted by the Irish Americans for Biden committee which mobilised the Irish-American vote ahead of last year’s presidential election, Mr Adams recalled how he had worked with many Irish-Americans during his time as a New York police officer.
“I served with some of the greatest men and women in the police department, who were proud of their Irish heritage. I have come here tonight to say, this is your city.”
Mr Adams, who is currently Brooklyn Borough President but served with the NYPD for more than 20 years, recently won the Democratic mayoral primary, beating figures including former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia. He is virtually certain to win the election in November given the Democratic tilt of the city. Mr Adams, who is black, spoke during the campaign about his own experiences of police racial profiling when he was a teenager. But he also ran on a strong law and order message, tapping into voters’ concerns about rising crime in the city.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Adams said he had visited Ireland in 2008 for a two-week vacation with his family, and planned to return. Asked if he had any Irish heritage, Brian O'Dwyer, board member of Irish American Democrats, said "we'll find it."
The event at Fitzpatrick Grand Central hotel in Manhattan celebrated the appointment of the vice-president of the Irish American Democrats, John McCarthy, to the White House. Mr McCarthy, who previously served as chief of staff to Pennsylvania congressman Brendan Boyle, now works as senior advisor to the counsellor to the president.
The event was hosted by John Fitzpatrick of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group, who was heavily involved in the Irish Americans for Biden committee.
Mr Fitzpatrick said that while it had been a tough year for the hotel industry, New York was reopening after the pandemic, and he looked forward to working with the incoming mayor. “It has been a difficult year for everyone, but business has really bounced back. We’re also looking forward to the reopening of international travel.”
Stella O’Leary, president of the Irish American Democrats group, which works to highlight Irish issues on Capitol Hill and in the White House, said that it was heartening to see the election of Joe Biden to the White House after four years of president Donald Trump, noting that the Irish-American vote had helped to deliver the election to the Democratic candidate in key swing states.
Welcoming the future mayor to the event, she said that the gathering was a reminder of the continued importance of the Irish-American community to US life and politics. But she added “it is important that we nurture that relationship for future generations.”
Among the other figures in attendance were Ireland's deputy ambassador to the United States, Emer Rocke, the president of the Ireland Funds, Caitríona Fottrell, and Kieran McLoughlin of VentureWave Capital.