Members of the National Board recently attended a luncheon at the invitation of the Irish Ambassador to the United States, Michael Collins. The luncheon was held at his residence not far from the Irish Embassy in Washington, DC. The residence of the Ambassador of Ireland was built in 1924 and is historically named the Frederic Delano House after its original owner. Frederic Delano was a member of the Federal Reserve Board and uncle of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Irish Government purchased the house in 1965.
The AOH was represented by 10 members of the Board including Executive Board Members Seamus Boyle, Brendan Moore and Jim McKay. Jim McKay also serves as Honorary Consul in New Orleans for the Irish Government. In additional two other AOH members attended as guests. The Ambassador was joined by his Diplomatic staff members Mr. Myles Geiran, First Secretary and Press and Information Officer and Mr. Adrian McDaid, Political Counselor.
Making note that the AOH is the largest Irish Catholic organization in the United States and that our membership reaches every community around the country, the Ambassador was intent on furthering the relationship with our organization and finding ways in which we can help each other further common goals. The luncheon fostered significant discussion on such important topics as immigration policy, the undocumented and community support for Irish immigrants. In addition we discussed how the AOH and its members can help Ireland in the current economic climate through tourism, business opportunities for American companies, and enticing higher education opportunities now being promoted to the Irish Diaspora in the U.S.
Also a topic of conversation was the Ambassador’s suggestion that the AOH play leading roles in future historic commemorations such as the upcoming 1916 Anniversary. The Ambassador was measuring our strength and demographics in age and other areas. Upon learning of our focus on youthful recruitment he suggested that we associate with the Irish Networks starting up in major metropolitan areas in the U.S. and sponsored in part by the Irish Government.
The luncheon provided an open and candid dialog and showed that a fine relationship continues to develop between the AOH and the Irish Foreign Affairs Department. This is true not only at the Irish Embassy in Washington, DC but at Irish Consulates throughout the U.S.