George Bush and Irish Prime Minister attend reception at White House to commemorate St. Patrick's day

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

George Bush making his speech at the meeting

Bertie Ahern, the Prime Minister of Ireland visited the White House Monday to commemorate St. Patrick's Day. Mr. Ahern makes this visit annually, for what he calls a "very substantial and useful meeting." Mr. Ahern started his speech by saying "Mr. President and Mrs. Bush, thank you for the welcome and honor which you've extended to our delegation, and to all the Irish guests, from North and from South, who are here at the White House this morning to mark St. Patrick's Day, Ireland's National Day. I'm very grateful, Mr. President, for the opportunity which we have just had to hold a very substantial and useful meeting with you in the Oval Office. We appreciate it, and we appreciate the amount of time that you've given to us."

Mr. Bush commented on the relationship between the US and Ireland, saying that "we've [the US and Ireland have] had a long relationship, Taoiseach. Our history has been one where the United States and Ireland have made liberty our common cause, and both of our nations are richer for it. Our partnership is based upon principles, and it's also based upon people. Ireland founded itself -- found itself in the grip of poverty and famine in the 19th century, and millions of Irish came here to our soil. They were drawn here by a promise that success would be attainable to all those who were willing to work hard. And that's certainly what happened."

George Bush and Bertie Ahern at the meeting

"And that's what we celebrate on St. Patrick's Day. Our countries are more than just partners, we are family, Taoiseach. And today more than 35 million Americans claim Irish ancestry. America is richer for every Murphy, Kelly, and O'Sullivan. I should have said McCain -- Well, I just did. After all, this history together, the United States and the Republic of Ireland continue to stand side by side in firm friendship. We were friends in the past, we're friends today, and, Taoiseach, I am confident, after my time in office, the next President will be friends with Ireland. We are cooperating to build prosperous economies and vibrant trade and sound investment between our countries," continued Mr. Bush. The mentions of McCain in this article were both followed by laughter and applause from the audience.

Mr. Ahern also commented on the resolution to the conflicts that had been troubling Ireland for many years. He said that "we [the people of Ireland] are all glad to say, and enormously pleased and proud to stand here and say that we've achieved peace in Ireland. It's a peace that I firmly believe will endure to future generations."