More than 1,100 guests gathered for The American Ireland Fund’s 32nd Annual Boston Dinner Gala at the Westin Boston Waterfront. $2.3 million was raised for The Worldwide Ireland Funds Promising Ireland Campaign. The 2013 Boston Gala was chaired by Des Mac Intyre, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Standish, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BNY Mellon. The 2013 Gala honored Dr. Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, and currently a visiting professor at Boston College. Boston Mayor-elect, State Senator Marty Walsh, introduced President McAleese.
Rousing standing ovations were given to Lieutenant Pauline Wells for her rendition of “America the Beautiful” and for her performance together with 14 year old Nolan Donato of Scituate, singing “The Fields of Athenry.” Former President Mary McAleese of Ireland was greeted with a third thunderous standing ovation for her remarks about the Irish peace process and the role played by The American Ireland Fund, which continues today as reconciliation in Northern Ireland is addressed.
Honoree, Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, said "Boston is home to the Irish and has been for generations. This week we remember with pride the Irish son of Boston who became President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy whose young life and brilliance was taken so tragically fifty years ago this week. The Irish pride he generated and the confidence we feel once again with the election of Mayor Marty Walsh. He speaks Gaelic, the language of his immigrant parents and our hearts soar with pride for we know that this is an outward sign of that other language the Boston Irish use, the language of care for one another and care for Ireland. That care is expressed in many different ways but none more powerful than in the existence and persistence of The American Ireland Fund. The hard-earned dollars of hard working American Irish and their friends have been put to life-changing, history altering use. They have helped to ‘fill the centuries arrears’ forging reconciliation between the estranged communities in Ireland, one heart at a time. We have peace now, we have hope in the future now, we have a roadmap to that future. That is thanks to the people who turned out tonight and on all the past nights for the Boston Irish's legendary fundraising dinner. We can only repay them by using this peace well and that please God we will do."
Dinner Chairman Des Mac Intyre said “as an Irish kid, I saw that The American Ireland Fund had an immeasurable impact on the Irish people’s sense of self-worth, their sense of hope and aspirations and above all the sense of connectivity to the US. To have the opportunity to give back is wonderful now, but to have the sustained help of The American Ireland Fund is a necessity – especially in these difficult times.”
The American Ireland Fund New England Director Steve Greeley said “Once again, the Boston Irish community and its friends rose in celebration of the Irish spirit and in so doing raised $2.3 million towards the vital programs funded by The American Ireland Fund both in Ireland and here in Boston.”
Other guests included Bob Reynolds of Putnam Investments and National AIF Board of Director and his wife Laura; Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots; Jay Hooley of State Street Corporation and National AIF Board of Director; Mike Sheehan of Hill Holliday and National AIF Board of Director and his wife Maureen: Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chairman of The American Ireland Fund; Mike Mahoney of Boston Scientific; Joe Corcoran of Corcoran Jennison and National AIF Board Member and his wife Rose; Ron O’Hanley of Fidelity Investments and Scott Powers of State Street Global Advisors, among many other wonderful friends and supporters.