The Ireland Funds hosted its 25th Annual National Gala dinner in the historic surrounds of the National Building Museum for over 700 supporters including 35 members of Congress and Irish-American leaders in business, government and media.
Guests of honor included Vice President Mike Pence, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Senator George Mitchell and H.E. Anne Anderson – Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny addressed those gathered and reflected on what he called the “staggering generosity” of The Ireland Funds’ donors and the impact their philanthropy had on the island of Ireland.
Vice President Pence spoke at length on his deep pride in his Irish heritage and its influence on him as an Irish-American. At the conclusion of his speech, he was presented with a framed family tree tracing his Irish roots and a copy of the Tubbercurry National School enrollment book noting his grandfather’s attendance.
Ambassador Anne Anderson was recognized for her many years of service in her numerous diplomatic posts around the world representing Ireland. She reflected on the conclusion of her time as Ireland’s Ambassador to the US saying it, “was the greatest privilege of her life to serve as Ambassador to the USA.” Ambassador Anderson spoke of her pride in the resilience and spirit of Ireland and cited its passage of the marriage equality referendum as a highlight. She thanked The Ireland Funds for the contributions it had made to the island.
Last to take the podium was Senator George Mitchell who represented the past 25 years of bipartisan leaders in government, business leaders and notable cultural figures who had been honored at The Ireland Funds’ National Gala in Washington DC. He spoke of the contributions of Americans from all backgrounds stating, “Genius knows no boundaries, no race and no religion.”
All spoke on the importance of immigration support and the contributions that immigrants have made to the success of America.
This annual event is a key opportunity for The Ireland Funds to celebrate Irish-American relations in the presence of key decision makers providing a unique platform to advance the Irish agenda in America.
Other noted guests included Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D); Congressmen Peter King (R) and Richie Neal (D) who jointly Chair the Friends of Ireland on Capitol Hill, Senator Rand Paul (R) and Joseph Kennedy Jnr (D).
The night was a true celebration of the 25 years of The Ireland Funds’ National Gala and the deep and abiding ties between Ireland and the US.
Vice President Mike Pence
Sen. George Mitchell
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D. at The Ireland Funds’ 25th National Gala in Washington, DC. March 15, 2017
H.E. Anne Anderson, Irish Ambassador to the United States
John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The Ireland Funds America
Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President & CEO of The Ireland Funds