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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release March 17, 2000


I salute all Irish Americans as they honor Saint Patrick and reaffirm their allegiance to their Irish heritage.

Today we celebrate the spirit of St. Patrick, a man of whom, it is said, lifted Ireland as a religious and cultural center even as the rest of Europe descended into the Dark Ages. On this day we also celebrate the spirit of all Irish Americans and the tremendous contributions they have made to the moral and physical fiber of our nation. The symbolic presence of Saint Patrick provided faith and courage to the Irish community as they fled famine and persecution in their homeland and achieved freedom and economic prosperity in America.

This celebration also gives us the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the words of President Kennedy who reminded us more than 30 years ago that "our two nations, divided by distance, have been united by history." I believe Irish Americans should be proud of the strong commitment and dedication their counterparts in Ireland and Northern Ireland have expressed toward achieving peace through the Good Friday Accord. I encourage all Americans to stand with me as we push for peace in Northern Ireland.

Tipper and I extend warm wishes for a memorable celebration.