House Speaker Paul Ryan, US President Donald Trump, and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny on St Patrick's Day last year.
Donald Trump

Donald Trump has made March 'Irish-American Heritage Month'

The White House said that it was “no wonder that American art, business, and public life are marked by Irish names and symbols”.

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has announced March as the official Irish-American Heritage Month to honour “the tenacious Irish spirit” and contributions the Irish diaspora have made to the United States.

In a statement on the White House website, it said that the month would celebrate ”the tremendous role Irish immigrants and their descendants have played in the development of our great nation”.

Irish-American Heritage Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the nearly 33 million Americans with Irish ancestry and their tremendous contributions to the betterment of our country.
This month, and every month, we appreciate their efforts in helping usher in a new era of American prosperity.

On St Patrick’s Day, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will travel to the US where he will visit Donald Trump at the White House. This follows a long tradition of previous Taoisigh who have travelled to the US on 17 March and give the US President a bowl of shamrocks in a gesture of goodwill, and more importantly, to maintain business connections.

It’s also expected that he will visit other States in the US with a focus on promoting trade and culture.

Friends in high places

In the announcement today, the statement emphasised the role Irish people played throughout the United States’ history.

Nine of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were of Irish origin, and Presidents including Barack Obama, Andrew Jackson, John F Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan have traced their roots back to Ireland.

Businessman Henry Ford, founder of one of America’s most iconic companies, was also the son of an Irish immigrant.

The White House said that the Heritage Month would aim to “honour” Irish-Americans and “to further strengthen” its relationship with Ireland during the month when “the country will don the traditional green garb as we celebrate the patron saint of Ireland”.

For centuries, the tenacious Irish spirit, paired with American self-reliance, has helped Irish immigrants and their descendants realise incredible dreams.

“With religious devotion, strength rooted in the love of family, and confidence in the promise of America, Irish Americans have engaged in the American experience in robust and meaningful ways. Their neighbourhoods, schools, churches, and workplaces have affirmed the importance of faith, industry, and learning.”

It is, therefore, no wonder that American art, business, and public life are marked by Irish names and symbols.

In January, Trump announced February as African-American History Month “to remember the challenges of our past, but also to honour countless African-American heroes who inspire us to shape our country’s future”.

Read: Trump’s son-in-law ‘loses top-level security clearance’

Read: In full: Here’s where our ministers are going for St Patrick’s Day

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