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Introduction Speech to President Barack Obama at College Green

If there’s anyone out there who still doubts that Ireland is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our ancestors is alive in our time; who still questions our capacity to restore ourselves, reinvent ourselves and prosper.

Today is your answer. Because today on this day the President of the United States, Barack Obama, comes to visit.

To show he believes in Ireland

To make that precious connection with his Irish family, his Irish roots, as thousands before him have done.

Today the 44th American President comes home.

When Falmouth Kearney started out on the long Atlantic crossing; he might have dreamed, but hardly imagined that, one day, his great-great-great grandson would return as the President of the United States. That boy said goodbye to a ravaged island. Millions had died or were leaving, packing their hopes and dreams in beside the remnants of a life.  Stepping onto ships which, for some was like stepping into space. Every one of them and all their people are our people ár muintir féin.

Their past is our past.

Their story is our story.

This evening, my call is directly to those 40-million Irish-Americans. Whether you’re listening or watching in New York or New Haven or in San Diego or St Louis.  Whether you’re Irish by blood, or by marriage, or by desire.  We your Irish family are right here, to welcome you.

To follow your President home.

Last week, Queen Elizabeth came, and bowed to our dead. The Irish harp glittered above the heart of the English Queen.  With pride and happiness, and two words of Irish, we closed a circle of our history.

A cháirde

Today, with President Obama we draw another circle. One in which we tell the world of our unique, untouchable wealth. Wealth that can never be accumulated in banks, or measured by the markets or traded on the stock exchange. Because it remains intact and alive deep inside our people.

In the heart-stopping beauty of our country. In the transforming currency of the Irish heart, imagination and soul. This is our Uaisleacht it has sustained us over the centuries. We pass from mother to daughter, father to son  In our dreams and imagining, in our love for our country our pride in who we are. Long into what must be and will be a brighter and more prosperous future .

President Obama is part of that proud past, part of that prouder future. In 1963, the 35nd President of the United States stirred our hearts. In 1995 the 42nd President lifted our country’s spirits.

But the 44th President is different.

He doesn’t just speak about the American dream. He is the American dream. The American dream come home.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m honoured to introduce the President of the United States Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama.

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