PM Aherns recalls Irish ties with U.S.

April 30, 2008 at 1:44 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) -- The Irish and U.S. friendship begun in the 19th century will persist for years, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Aherns told the U.S. Congress.

Because of ties "built and nurtured over the centuries," Aherns said Wednesday, "to be Irish among Americans is to be at home."

When the Irish emigrated to the United States, "America was more than a destination, it was a destiny," Aherns said during a joint session of Congress. The prime minister has resigned effective May 6 amid charges of corruption.

He compare the United States' founding to the peace process between the two Irelands.

To a rounds of applause, Aherns then said he was the first Irish official to tell the U.S. Congress "Ireland is at peace."

"Peace can be found without suspending moral judgment," he said.

Ireland also recognizes it's obligation "to share what we have" with the world's poor, he said, noting the country was the sixth largest capital donor.

Before stepping down, Aherns said he would visit a centuries-old battlefield in Ireland "to reaffirm again what Ireland has achieved."

"In history, in politics and in life, there are no ends, only new beginnings, so let us begin," he concluded.

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