St. Patrick’s Day 2013 at the White House

Remarks at the Reception

President Obama:

“And it’s a reminder of just how many trials the people of Ireland have endured, from hunger and troubles, to the economic challenges of recent years. It’s yet another reason why we need to build an immigration system for the 21st century — (applause) — one that works for families and businesses and our economy. But it’s also a tribute to the incredible resilience of the Irish character and the enormous power of faith — in God, in one another, and in the possibility of a better life.

It was that faith that brought millions of Irish to our shores, but that faith alone didn’t join our two nations in common cause. It was how the Irish put that faith into practice in their new nation. They wanted a government of and by and for the people, so they helped us design one. And they understood the importance of saving the Union, so they fought and died for the cause. They saw potential in our railways, bridges and skyscrapers, so they poured their sweat and blood into building them. And they believed that each of us has an obligation, not just to ourselves, but to each other and to our country. So that’s how they lived their lives here in America.

A great nation is one that contributes more to the world than it takes out, and by that definition, America owes a profound debt of gratitude to the great nation or Ireland. And together, our people have never stopped dreaming of a better future and never stopped working to make that dream a reality.”

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Remarks at the luncheon

President Obama:

“For my part, I will never forget the magical day that Michelle and I spent in Ireland. The Irish people were incredibly warm and incredibly gracious, even with a little mist falling. They made Michelle and me feel right at home, and we both left with thousands of new friends and dozens of new relatives. And I’m very much looking forward to visiting Northern Ireland for the G8 summit this June.”

Taoiseach Kenny:

“We love this country and want to work with you for the benefit of so many people. So we’ve spoken about immigration, Northern Ireland, EU-U.S. trade — that’s where the future is. And, after all, the future is the only place where we all have to live.”

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Remarks before a bilateral meeting

President Obama:

“Obviously, the contributions of Irish Americans to the United States is legendary. But what is also true is that we have an incredibly strong partnership on economic issues, on security issues. The Taoiseach has shown great leadership during difficult times in Ireland. And we’re seeing progress in the Irish economy. That’s good for the U.S. economy because we have a lot of trade, a lot of investment in Ireland.

There was a story this morning about a deal between Ryanair and Boeing in which we’ll be selling a whole lot of airplanes to Ireland. And it’s an example of how the progress that’s made in Ireland benefits jobs and businesses here in the United States. Obviously, the Taoiseach is very interested, as well as in continuing to attract direct investment from the United States to Ireland. So this will be a major topic of discussion.

Ireland also punches above its weight internationally when it comes to humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping. Irish troops are in many very difficult places in the world and provide the kinds of stabilization and humanitarian efforts that make all the difference and save lives.”

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