Written by Kirsten Fedewa & Janet Donovan
St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, but in Washington, DC the Irish spirit is omnipresent. A look back at this year’s celebration: “We come together here to honor those who are known for the gifts of Blarney and the Tall Tales which in this town means absolutely everybody,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) at the United States Capitol at a luncheon hosted with the Friends of Ireland with World-renowned tenor Anthony Kearns performing.
“Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill were fierce political opponents: This goes way back to those days. Their heritage was their bond. When it came to Ireland the only thing they would argue about was who was more Irish. Reagan was so committed to winning this argument that he would say he was old enough to have actually met St. Patrick.”
“On June 14th of last year Leo Varadkar became the 13th person in Ireland’s history to hold the position of Taoiseach,” Ryan added. “At the age of seven or eight, I’m told, he announced that he wanted to become the Minister for Health: He fulfilled that mission and much, much more. Please join me in giving a warm welcome to the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. So Leo, this is actually not your first time here. This is really a welcome back and what’s exciting about this is you used to be an intern here not too many years ago and now you are the guest of honor and I think that is just incredible. Many of us got our start that way. I too started as an intern here. Politicians go on and on and you hope to get a free meal out of it. So that is where we are here today and the good news is we have Guinness. Now the Guinness does taste better in Ireland, but this is probably not the right year to bring up trade issues. But our ties with Ireland are as strong as ever.”