seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA


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First Lady Hillary Clinton Receives Freedom of Galway

First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes the first woman to be granted the Freedom of Galway city on May 12, 1999, following in the footsteps of her country’s former presidents, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Clinton also receives an honorary doctorate of laws.

“A great natural resource, a fine legal mind, an inspiration to aspiring women, a model of the loving yet autonomous wife, a consistent champion of children and a good soul,” is how the president of National University of Ireland Galway, Dr. Patrick Fottrell, summarises her contribution, quoting from the American writer Letty Cottin Pogrebin.

Dr. Fottrell pays tribute to her work as a lawyer, academic and public servant, and says she has championed the rights of women and children, while also showing a strong commitment to Northern Ireland.

In her speech, delivered to mark the university’s 150th anniversary, Clinton speaks about the continuing quest for peace.

Clinton flies into Shannon Airport early in the morning for her two-day Irish visit. Security is tight, but discreet.

About 100 protesters at the main entrance to NUI Galway miss Clinton’s arrival at the campus, and move to Eyre Square by the time she leaves for Belfast.

However, using megaphones, members of the NO to War campaign, the Socialist Party, several students and representatives of the arts community manage to drown out the Army Band of the 4th Western Brigade as the robed university procession proceeds to the conferring ceremony at Aras na Mac Leinn, performed to 1,000 invited guests.

The protesters, including the film-maker Lelia Doolan, writer Dervla Murphy, poet Rita Ann Higgins, Carol Fox of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington of NUI Galway, circulate a petition calling on the Government to honour Fianna Fáil‘s election commitment to hold a referendum on membership of Partnership for Peace (PfP).

(From The Irish Times, May 13, 1999)


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Martin O’Malley Announces Run for U.S. President

martin-omalleyMartin O’Malley, Irish American whose relatives come from Galway, two-term Governor of Maryland, and two-term Mayor of Baltimore, announces his intention to run for president of the United States on May 30, 2015, on Federal Hill overlooking Baltimore.

First elected Mayor of Baltimore in 1999, O’Malley is re-elected as mayor in 2003. Considering a run for governor in 2002, O’Malley instead focuses on his mayoralty. In 2006, nearing the end of his second term as mayor, O’Malley announces his candidacy for Governor of Maryland, an office he wins by a sizeable margin. He is re-elected by a wider margin in a rematch against Bob Ehrlich in 2010. O’Malley has been seen as a potential presidential candidate since at least November 2012.

O’Malley’s announcement includes a swing at Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican candidate Jeb Bush, “Recently, the CEO of Goldman Sachs let his employees know that he’d be just fine with either Bush or Clinton. Well, I’ve got news for the bullies of Wall Street—the presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families.”

During his speech, O’Malley cast Baltimore’s recent racial unrest, including a night of riots after the funeral of Freddie Gray who died of injuries sustained in police custody, as an symptom of a larger American problem. “What took place here was not only about race…not only about policing in America. It’s about everything it is supposed to mean to be an American,” he said. “The scourge of hopelessness that happened to ignite here that evening, transcends race or geography.”

O’Malley also takes swings at Wall Street. “Tell me how it is, that you can get pulled over for a broken tail light in our country, but if you wreck the nation’s economy you are untouchable.”

Highlighting his record as Maryland’s governor, O’Malley notes that he supported a successful bid to legalize gay marriage and helped raise the minimum wage.

After making his announcement from the stage, O’Malley is played out to U2‘s Pride (In The Name of Love).

O’Malley suspends his campaign on February 1, 2016, after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.


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Hillary Clinton Announced for Induction into Irish America Hall of Fame

hillary-clintonOn February 2, 2015, Irish America magazine announces that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in March, in recognition of her work on the Irish peace process.

Clinton travels frequently to Ireland as First Lady and as U.S. Secretary of State, and often talks about the end of the civil strife, known as The Troubles, as a crowning foreign policy achievement of her husband’s administration. On her visit to Belfast in 2012, she pledges to continue to support peace in Ireland in whatever way possible.

“Hillary Rodham Clinton is one of the unsung heroes of the success of the Irish peace process,” says Niall O’Dowd, publisher of Irish America magazine. “As First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State she always gave the issue top priority to help ensure it remained at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. During that historic first trip to Northern Ireland with Bill Clinton in 1995, which I was privileged to be on, she galvanized women’s groups on both sides by meeting with them, shaping their agenda, and making sure they always had a friend in the U.S. administration. More than that, she constantly stayed involved, never giving up her focus on bringing an end to Europe’s longest conflict at the time.”

On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, Clinton delivers the keynote address at the luncheon in Manhattan of high profile Irish-Americans who each year honor elected officials and others. She describes sitting at a table in Belfast, over cups of tea, with women from both sides of the conflict and watching as they discover how much they share.

She does not portray herself as instrumental to the Good Friday Agreement that President Clinton brokered in 1998, but says her outreach to women in Belfast on multiple visits during that period had played a critical role.

“You cannot bring peace and security to people just by signing an agreement,” she says. “In fact, most peace agreements don’t last.” She says that when “the work of peace permeates down to the kitchen table, to the backyard, to the neighborhood, around cups of tea, there’s a much greater chance the agreement will hold.”

Previous inductees into the Irish America Hall of Fame include former President John F. Kennedy, former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who addressed the luncheon in 2014 in a mix of English and Irish.