I have reached that point in life where people often ask me to reflect on my experiences. I am asked the question, “What does it take to be successful?” I don’t have all the answers, but I have learned a bit along the way.
Success – whether in sports, in business, or even for countries – doesn’t come easily. Making the U.S.-Ireland relationship stronger than ever is something I have focused on these past three years as the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. As an American, I am proud to work for my country’s success every day.
It is an honor to represent President Barack Obama and the American people as ambassador in Ireland. I have traveled all over Ireland, been to every county, and met with people from every walk of life.
Perhaps they see me for what I am, an Irishman come home, but they have welcomed Patricia and me with the cead mille failte (100,000 Welcomes) for which this island is world famous.
Just last May, we celebrated another homecoming of sorts in Moneygall, where the president was welcomed home. President and Mrs. Obama – on behalf of all Americans – renewed old acquaintances and made new memories to add to our long and happy history together.
You can’t need any more of a reminder that Ireland and America are family. That is why I am proud that U.S.-Irish relations have improved over the past three years to the best that they have been in a long time.
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There were some doubters who wondered if President Obama would care as much about Ireland and Europe as other parts of the world. No one doubts anymore. Our relationship has been transformed, and we are now working together more closely than ever before on issues of great importance.
Our transatlantic partnership with the European Union, of which Ireland is a vital member, is an enduring source of economic and political stability; it is the cornerstone of our international engagement and alliances.
We partner with Ireland and the EU to address international threats to peace such as Iran, and to support positive steps like the democratic transition in the Middle East. The United States and Ireland are leading as equal partners in the international fight against hunger in the world through the 1,000 Days Campaign.
At home in America, President Obama is working hard to restore our economy and build it back to growth. I have been back and forth to the U.S. recently and I am encouraged by what I see: businesses are starting to hire again, and confidence is coming back.
The situation is much the same in Ireland. These past few years have been especially hard. Being American, I believe that no matter how dark things have been, there is hope for tomorrow and a brighter future ahead. That hope for tomorrow is alive in both Ireland and America.
I have made it an absolute priority as ambassador to encourage jobs and investment in both countries. The economic relationship between the United States and Ireland is crucially important to our mutual success.
In our world of free trade and competition, our economies are combined as never before. America’s economic renewal depends, to a large degree, on the strength of the global economy, and the global economy depends on the strength of America.
Every billion dollars of exports from America supports more than 5,000 good-paying jobs for people back home. So I encourage American companies to succeed globally so they can then hire folks in America, and wherever they do business.
American companies, in fact, are doing more and more business with Ireland. Ireland is regaining its competitiveness, and is back to being a great place to do business thanks to the hard work of the Taoiseach, his government, and the Irish people.
American companies now have more than $191 billion invested in Ireland. And Irish companies now employ 100,000 Americans in ventures in the United States. This is not a zero-sum game with winners and losers. When American and Irish businesses succeed, we all win.
As Secretary Clinton recently said, “America’s economic strength and our global leadership are a package deal. You’re not going to have one without the other. Our power in the 21st century depends not just on the size of our military, but also on what we grow, how well we innovate, what we make and how effectively we sell. Rising powers like China, India and Brazil understand this, as well, and we can’t sit on the sidelines while they put economics at the center of their foreign policies.”
Both the Americans and the Irish have what it takes to succeed. We have ability and talent, and we have determination. Failing to succeed is only failure if you quit. And we don’t quit.
But no one succeeds alone. Even a quarterback and wide receiver can’t succeed without teammates and coaches. Success means everyone working together.
And sure, it also takes a bit of luck. Fortunately, I believe the luck of the Irish is something every American shares, particularly on St. Patrick’s Day. Lá fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh! Thank you. God bless.
Daniel M. Rooney is U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.