March 17, 2023
Video available at: https://youtu.be/iNWQD1IzdMw
Tánaiste Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Ireland: Good morning. Mayor Adams, ladies and gentlemen, happy St. Patrick's Day to you all. I'm going to thank Mayor Adams for opening up your home to the Irish and to the friends of Ireland in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. For those of you who may not know, my name is Micheàl Martin, Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland, Tánaiste, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defense. And it's a great privilege for me to be with you this morning in this wonderful home. And I know it's a tradition for the mayor to host this breakfast. No one here takes it for granted and everyone greatly appreciates it, Mayor. Thank you very much indeed.
It is wonderful that you host this reception and by extension recognize the positive contribution to this great vibrant city made by successive generations of immigrants, including so many from Ireland who have made New York their home. Your city's history is interwoven with Ireland and the Irish, and I'm delighted to bring warm greetings from the government and from the people of Ireland to you and to everyone gathered here.
Mayor Eric, I'm in the United States on the eve of an important anniversary, 25 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April, 1998. America's support for peace on the island of Ireland was critical in reaching that agreement. Throughout the peace process and ever since, the bipartisan support of the many friends of Ireland across all levels of government and from communities across the United States has been essential. And each time that a crisis has arisen and the support of the United States has been sought, including in recent years, it has been given.
This ongoing commitment from the White House to Gracie Mansion continues to make a real difference to the lives of people in Northern Ireland. And it is our privilege to use the occasion of the 25th anniversary to honor the unique contribution of the United States and this great city to the peace process. Through you Mayor, and to all of you, I sincerely say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Today, we mark the Irish, US partnership as New York celebrates its heritage and we celebrate together. Mayor Adams, thank you once again for hosting us here this morning. I'm a proud citizen of Cork in Ireland and inevitably Corkonians are followed everywhere by Kerry people reminding us of their greatness. And that has happened this morning also. But today, I will be marching in the parade nationally, representing all of you in the parade and looking very much forward to it.
So, [Speaks in Gaelic]. Happy St. Patrick's Day and see you all on Fifth Avenue.
Mayor Eric Adams: The voice of announcement forgot to say O'Adams, O'Adams. Really, happy St. Patrick’s Day and thank you so much for being here. And to all of our dignitaries and I just want some of our folks to come up, particularly Congressman Crowley. Joe, can you come up? Where's Joe?
Come on. Come on up, brother. Come on up. We want to see you. Senator, my brother, Tim Kennedy, come on up. Come on and stand up here. These are just good friends. And my good friend Councilman Danny Dromm. And my amazing dean of the congressional delegation that's here as well. Congressman, how are you? It's good to see you. Congressman Nadler is the dean of our delegation and he's fighting on behalf of us to ensure that we receive the resources we need here in the city.
And I just really want to take a moment and thank all of our leaders that's here, particularly the representative of the United Kingdom, Barbara Woodward, permanent representative of the UN, United Kingdom, Emma Wade-Smith, the Consul General Helena Nolan, Consul General of Ireland, of the, just getting all my notes here, can't read my own handwriting. And really just all of us, our permanent representative to the UN as well and just all of us for coming here to together. And I just wanted everyone to come here and join the stage with me because we are united.
And when you think about the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Peace Agreement, it is something that should resonate throughout our entire globe. Peace is a way that we can bring prosperity to everyone. And no one knows that better than those who are Irish descendants here in New York City. I always tell the story many years ago being in Ireland, speaking with some of the residents as I moved throughout the beautiful country and acknowledged and recognize the joy of the seven phases and shades of green, looking at your liquid sunshine, understanding how to appreciate rain and all that it has to offer, buying some of my favorite wool sweaters that I still wear today.
But the most significant part of it, what was said to me as we were sitting around and enjoying the beautiful atmosphere, a gentleman stated that it's about the family name. And you are taught in Irish heritage that never to do anything that's going to embarrass the family name because it will last throughout the generations. And whatever action you take, always remember the family name. And those are the same things that my mother used to say to me, it's about the family name. And we need to instill that spirit and energy again, that every action our children and every action we take, we take it with the understanding that we're carrying the rich tradition and legacy of all that came before us and what the family name represents.
And when you think about the family name of the Irish residents here in New York City, we cross over the Brooklyn Bridge, we need to acknowledge it was the Irish residents that built that bridge. We ride our MTA systems, and we have to acknowledge the role the Irish Americans played in building our railroad and transit system. And then we think about the prerequisite to our prosperity, public safety. It was the Irish Americans that came and bolstered the population in the police department, bolstered the population in the fire department. This city is known for its diversity and the various heritage and ethnic groups that come here and make this city great. And nothing personifies that more than what the Irish community has done, will do and will do and continue to do in the future.
So today when we march up Fifth Avenue, and it appears as though everything turns to green, and New York City then starts its own way of seeing the many shades of green, but we also see the many shades of the ethnicities that make up our city and that makes us great. I thank you for what you contribute, but also call on you to talk to your children. As we move further and further from generations, we fail to realize the richness of our heritage and evolution. Yes, our children, this young man here, he knows a New York, he knows a New York that's modern, a New York that's different, but that's not the New York that many of his great-grandparents knew.
They knew a New York that denied them the right to move around in New York, that forced them into areas that were unsafe and unsavory. They knew a New York that had signs that were degrading to the Irish people. So, as new arrivals come here, let's reflect on what our ancestors went through when they came here. Because one day, one of those new arrivals will sit at this podium and talk about how receptive we were to those who came here fleeing persecution, just as many of your ancestors fleed persecution from Ireland and from the colonialization and the potato famines that they experience. We come here for one reason only, because this is the only country on the globe that has dream attached to its name. And we appreciate that dream and that dream should go for all who pursue it.
So, I thank you and I say a happy St. Patrick Day to you all. Thank you very much.