Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton personally administered the oath of office to the Pittsburgh Steelers chief at a ceremony at the State Department in Washington, D.C.
Joking that she had come off the injured list to take charge of the ceremony -she recently broker her elbow in a fall – Clinton first lavished praise on the city of Pittsburgh before lavishing same on Ronney, who was accompanied in the room by his wife Patricia and other family members.
“Ambassador Rooney is assuming this post at a crucial time. Ireland is one of our closest allies. Our countries are connected by political, economic, cultural, and certainly familial ties. And we share a deep and rich history, one that continues today,” said Clinton.
“It is sustained and enhanced by the millions of people in both nations whose family and loved ones live in the other.
Forty million Americans boast Irish heritage, and I expect we have a few in the room today in addition to the Rooneys.
“And as every American can attest, those of our neighbors and friends who are sons and daughters of Ireland are fiercely proud of their ancestry. And we are so grateful to the Irish immigrants who sweated and sacrificed to build this country and who broke down barriers at every level of society,” Clinton said.
And she added: “The friendship between Ireland and the United States is vital to both of our nations, and President Obama and I are confident that it will deepen with Dan and Patricia Rooney in Dublin.
“There is no greater champion of Irish-American relations than Dan Rooney. And in the months ahead, as we work together to address the many challenges we face, from the global economic downturn, to the threat of terrorism, to climate change, to the development of clean energy sources, as well as to our continuing emphasis on the peace process in Northern Ireland, I am confident that with Dan Rooney as our ambassador, our partnership will thrive, and that will benefit Ireland, the United States, and all the world’s people.”
After the State Department ceremony, the Rooney’s lost little time in flying to Ireland. The new ambassador presented his credential to President Mary McAleese last Friday and was on hand to oversee the U.S. Embassy’s July 4th celebrations.
One of Rooney’s first statements as ambassador was that Ireland should anticipate a visit by President Barack Obama in the foreseeable future.