Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Ireland in 2012. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Ray O’Hanlon
They have been cheering her on for years and now the cheering has reached a new pitch.
The Irish American Democrats lobby group has hailed the triumph of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic Party primary race while describing Clinton’s emergence as her party’s presidential nominee as being of special significance for Irish Americans.
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“Hillary’s victory on Tuesday, and her opportunity to break the ultimate glass ceiling, have special significance for Irish Americans,” said Irish American Democrats president, Stella O’Leary.
“We Irish are fortunate to have so many good friends in the Senate and House of Representatives, but the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, are the best friends we ever had in the White House.
“With Hillary in the White House, Irish Americans can count on special consideration of their issues,” O’Leary said.
And she continued: “Irish American issues coincide in most cases with those of the population at large.
“Hillary’s plans to reinvigorate the economy and bring good paying jobs to the middle class are some of the issues we all share, but Hillary is unique in her foreign policy experience and her dedication to fixing the very broken immigration laws. “Today thousands of Irish throughout this country are living in the shadows because of these laws. Hillary is well aware of the hardship these laws impose on Irish families and will make it a priority to enact comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to citizenship, for those undocumented Irish immigrants.
“Along with her husband, Hillary played a major role in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement.
“As First Lady, she visited Ireland five times and was instrumental in bringing women’s groups into the peace process.
“Irish American Democrats have received numerous offers from women in Ireland to come to America and work for her November election, in gratitude for what she did to end the killing in Northern Ireland. Hillary is noted for her international human rights work to ensure equality, regardless of nationality, gender, religion or sexual orientation.”
O’Leary said that in an election “in which one of the nominees is threatening to build a wall and deport millions of immigrants, we Irish should not forget that in the 19th century the Know-Nothing Movement burned Catholic churches and murdered the Irish, in an effort to drive them out of America.
“Archbishop Hughes, speaking in the old St. Patrick’s Church, New York, warned these Know Nothings that the Irish would take up arms to defend themselves if the killing did not stop.”
O’Leary said that Clinton, as a senator representing New York, had established a special relationship with the Irish American community and speaks fondly of the Irish friends she made and Irish events she attended.
“Irish Americans can count on Hillary as our ally to sustain the peace in Northern Ireland and to help Ireland boost their economy, while, at the same time, she addresses the domestic issues of the Irish in America.
“It is up to us to unite and ensure that Hillary is the next president, strengthening the bonds with Ireland, and working for peace and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic,” O’Leary concluded.