connect 2018 • 68 AROUND THE WORLD WASHINGTON D.C. March, 2018 The Ireland Funds hosted its 26th Annual National Gala at The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, TD Prime Minister of Ireland addressed the 750+ guests attending The Ireland Funds’ event as part of his multi-stop St. Patrick’s Day visit to the U.S. The Gala also marked the 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement with special recognition given to Representative Peter T. King (R-NY-2) and Representative Richard E. Neal (D-MA-1), Chairs of the Friends of Ireland Caucus in Congress, for their personal achievements and promotions of the Good Friday Agreement. John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The Ireland Funds America welcomed guests and Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President & CEO of The Ireland Funds announced that the event had raised over $1 million to benefit great causes across the island of Ireland. The Taoiseach delivered a stirring speech on the shared values of Ireland and the U.S. He thanked supporters of The Ireland Funds saying, “Your generous support is a powerful expression of your commitment to peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland for more than forty years.” The Ireland Funds recognized Anne Finucane, Vice Chair, Bank of America for her professional and philanthropic contributions to the island of Ireland including Music Generation, Ireland’s National music program. The evening also honored Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions for his great support of Irish causes. The evening was a gathering of Gala Chairs, Irish and Irish American leaders, leaders in business, government, the media and the arts. The annual event is a key opportunity to celebrate Irish-American relations in the presence of key decision makers. Guests of note included H.E. Daniel Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to the U.S; Sir Kim Darrock, British Ambassador to the U.S.; renowned Irish flutist Sir James Galway who performed on the evening, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and 25 U.S. members of Congress. Washington DC National Gala 1 3 2 4