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On St. Patrick's Day, Obama taps Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney to be Ireland ambassador.

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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

______________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 17, 2009

President Obama Announces Intention to Nominate Daniel Rooney as Ambassador to Ireland

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today at the White House, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Daniel Rooney as the Ambassador to Ireland.

President Obama said, "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. Dan Rooney is an unwavering supporter of Irish peace, culture, and education, and I have every confidence that he and Secretary Clinton will ensure America's continued close and unique partnership with Ireland in the years ahead."

Dan Rooney is the recent recipient of the American Ireland Fund's Lifetime Achievement Award and honorary Commander of the British Empire for contributions to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, has played an integral role in the Irish peace process since the early 1970s. In 1976, Rooney co-founded the American Ireland Fund, an organization which to date has raised over $300 million for peace and education programs in Ireland. Rooney founded the annual prize for Irish Literature in 1987 and co-founded the Ireland Institution of Pittsburgh in 1989. In 1993, the "Rooney Fellowship" was created to honor his generosity and charitable works.

Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the winners of Super Bowl XLIII, Rooney was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He has been the recipient of various awards in relation to his work within the community and for his involvement with the National Football League over the last 26 years, including: the Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year in 1972 and 2001, the Maxwell Football Club Reds Bagwell Award in 1999, and, in 2008, the YWCA Racial Justice Award and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor presented by the National Ethnic Coalition. Rooney also led the sports world's efforts to include diversity beyond the field and into the front office through the "Rooney Rule."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 17, 2009 9:22 AM.

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