Mary Robinson
7th President of Ireland & UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Supporting the Irish Diaspora is something which I have championed from my very first days as IrishMary Robinson, former President of Ireland, endorsing the great work of Irish Network USA and its sections, of which Irish Network Philadelphia is a part of President. There is an enormous potential for good - for Ireland, for the United States and indeed for the wider world - in linking the Irish talent pool that is living in the United States. While Irish Network USA will nurture a sense of Irish identity within its membership, I hope too that it will contribute back to Irish society - through economic, educational and cultural channels.

As President of Ireland, I addressed the joint houses of the Oireachtas in 1995 on the subject of ‘Cherishing the Irish Diaspora’. In that address, I noted that:

After all, emigration is not just a chronicle of sorrow and regret. It is also a powerful story of contribution and adaptation. In fact, I have become more convinced each year that this great narrative of dispossession and belonging, which so often had its origins in sorrow and leave- taking, has become - with a certain amount of historic irony - one of the treasures of our society. If that is so, then our relation with the Diaspora beyond our shores is one which can instruct our society in the values of diversity, tolerance and fair-mindedness.

I commend the work and the mission of Irish Network USA, and wish it every success in the years ahead.

Dr. Mary Robinson
7th President of Ireland &
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
May 2010
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