16th February, 2012

Palm Beach Dinner Gala 2012

The American Ireland Fund’s Annual Emerald Isle Dinner Dance took place on February 16, 2012 at The Breakers. 

The 22nd annual dinner dance was co-chaired by Rebecca and William Dunn, and Mila and Brian Mulroney.  The honorary co-chairs were Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Michele and Howard Kessler, Hillie Mahoney, and Thomas C. Quick. The American Ireland Fund honored the legendary investor/entrepreneur, Wilbur L. Ross, Chairman and CEO of WL Ross & Co LLC, and Chairman of Invesco Private Capital, with its Business Leadership Award for his contributions to Ireland.   The award was presented by Hilary Weston, Mr. Ross’s friend, who served as the 26th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and founded The Ireland Fund of Canada in 1979 and who continues to serve as an honorary patron of the organization.

One of the best known private equity investors in the U.S., Mr. Ross made a very significant investment in the Bank of Ireland in 2011, providing it with the first infusion of international private capital into an Irish banking institution since the onset of the financial crisis.  This watershed action sent an important message to the international markets that Ireland was breaking away from its troubled peers in Europe.  Mr. Ross’s investment also gave the Irish public a needed morale boost, and since his investment, he has been promoting Ireland as a worthy investment opportunity and has indicated he is receptive to other Irish investment opportunities.

The gala evening, which raised more than $450,000 and drew nearly 250 guests including Paul Gleeson, the Consul General Of Ireland in Atlanta, members of the Irish American US Council, the Irish Georgian Society, Trinity College Dublin and Ireland’s historic National Abbey Theatre, began with a cocktail reception, followed by a dinner dance held in The Circle Ballroom with entertainment provided by Palm Beach Board member Hillie Mahoney’s son, Bob Merrill and the Sultans of Swing Orchestra. 

Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chairman of The American Ireland Fund, also took the podium and introduced Ronan Tynan, one of the celebrated Irish Tenors, who gave a rousing solo performance.

The guests were welcomed and thanked by Kieran McLoughlin, President & CEO, The Worldwide Ireland Funds, who announced that the Promising Ireland Campaign – an initiative to raise $100 million to assist Irish charities launched last year, was a year ahead of its fundraising goals.  The Worldwide Ireland Funds have launched the Promising Ireland Campaign to raise $100 million by the end of 2013 on behalf of Irish charities. Charities across the island of Ireland are experiencing an increased demand for their services at a time of a major reduction in resources.

The Campaign’s title – Promising Ireland – reflects The Worldwide Ireland Funds’ pledge to these groups as well as a belief in Ireland’s future. Over 300 outstanding projects and organizations have already received support from the Promising Ireland Campaign.