Obama taps Rooney as Irish ambassador

March 17, 2009 at 3:52 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama announced Tuesday he intends to nominate Pittsburgh Steelers owner and chairman Daniel Rooney as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

"I am honored and grateful that such a dedicated and accomplished individual has agreed to serve as the representative of the United States to the Irish people," Obama said in a statement. "Dan Rooney is an unwavering supporter of Irish peace, culture, and education, and I have every confidence that he and Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton will ensure America's continued close and unique partnership with Ireland in the years ahead."

Rooney recently received the American Ireland Fund's Lifetime Achievement Award and is an honorary Commander of the British Empire for his contributions to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, the White House said in a news release.

Among his accomplishments, Rooney co-founded in the 1970s the American Ireland Fund, an organization that raises funds for peace and education programs in Ireland.

The chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000 and has received a number of awards for his community work and involvement in the National Football League.

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