Chamber celebrates Independence Day 2017

  • Release Date: 04/07/2017
American Chamber of Commerce Ireland celebrates Independence Day 2017
Irish-American philanthropist, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, awarded the 2017 Kennedy-Lemass Medal

Tuesday, 4 July 2017: At a time when the strength and depth of the US-Ireland relationship is at an all-time high, the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland celebrated Independence Day 2017 with six hundred members of the Ireland US business community attending the annual 4 July lunch in the Clayton Hotel, in Dublin.
Welcoming Ambassadors and assembled guests to the event, James O’Connor, President of the American Chamber, said “Traditionally in the US, July 4th is a day marked by fireworks, parades and pageantry. It is a date marked in history by the US Declaration of Independence, a document signed by, amongst others, a number of very forward-thinking Irishmen.”
In honour of another forward-thinking person and someone who “symbolises the strength of the relationship between Ireland and the United States”, James O’Connor announced Irish-American philanthropist, Loretta Brennan Glucksman,as this year’s recipient of the Kennedy-Lemass Medal. The award was introduced last year and honours US leaders of Irish heritage who have helped to strengthen the Irish-US relationship. 
Pennsylvania born Loretta Brennan Glucksman, the granddaughter of four Irish immigrants, is a Chairman emeritus of the American Ireland Fund, an organisation which she has led for eighteen years. During her time as Chairman, the Fund has raised more than €300 million supporting projects relating to peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development in the Republic and Northern Ireland.
Ms Brennan Glucksman has also served on the boards of The National Gallery of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, the Royal Irish Academy and is currently chair of the University of Limerick Foundation and advisory board co-chair of the Glucksman Ireland House, a centre for Irish and Irish-American Studies at New York University.
Highlighting her many contributions to Ireland and to the Irish-American community including, her leadership in education and skills, her work as a champion of the creative arts, and her commitment to removing barriers that divide us, James O’Connor remarked, “It is fitting that these areas resonate fully with the American Chamber strategy that we are all working together, united by a mutual desire for a long and lasting positive impact on Ireland’s economy and society.”
Presenting the award James O’Connor added that Ms Brennan Glucksman is “someone who exemplifies what it truly means to give ‘something back’ to society and her tireless work to deepen the ties between our two countries, in the spirit of those great leaders, Kennedy and Lemass, embodies the idea of our kinship.”
The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland President highlighted the many opportunities that exist for Ireland in its central role driving connections between the United States and Europe. However, he remarked that amidst these opportunities that will continue to exist also lies risk.  
“Brexit will bring changing relationships between global trading blocks and the threat of protectionism. We are in no doubt this could cause real harm to the extraordinary transformation that has occurred since President Kennedy set out his powerful vision for alliance between the US and Europe.
In the face of this challenge, we believe our country must remain focused on improving the elements that we control and which will help us to maintain our key position at the forefront of Foreign Direct Investment.  We know, for example, that education is the key to accelerating our country’s economic potential. We support the Government’s Action Plan for Education - it is vital that Ireland continues to produce the talented, flexible graduates it needs to fill the high skilled roles available in our companies and in our economy. Our vision is an Ireland that is doing everything possible to ensure STEM subjects get the right level of attention at Primary, Secondary and Third Level. Our vision is a learning experience that encourages teamwork, communication skills, creativity & innovation and problem solving. We must remove all barriers to students pursuing STEM, especially those preventing girls from pursuing study in these areas.
As well as great challenge, Brexit may also bring great opportunity. Data in every form – storage, sharing, analysis and management has continued to increase – helping to transform how we live, work and play and how we connect to the global community.  Ireland can be a leader in data services and this will present us with an opportunity to strengthen our competitive proposition in this global, connected, interdependent world.”
“We will continue to take our lead from inspiring individuals such as Loretta Brennan Glucksman who battled constantly to find common ground and shared interests, all the while carrying out work in the background to dismantle the barriers, and remove or mitigate the challenges.”
Speaking at the lunch, US Charg├ęs D’Affaires, Reece Smyth, said “The business community, in particular, embodies the dynamic nature of our U.S.-Ireland relationship. The value of US investment in Ireland is almost $350 billion dollars.  Ireland’s reputation in boardrooms from Dallas to Denver to Dublin, California is special. In truth, the relationship between our two countries is beyond special, it is truly unique.  And I think what is most remarkable is that this is not a one-way street.  There is a growing pipeline of Irish companies investing and creating jobs in the United States complementing the US companies operating here. 
At the Embassy, we’ve been opening collaborations, creative economic linkages, and strengthening industry ties between our two countries.  In 2015 we launched the Creative Minds Series, to bring prominent U.S. artists, writers, filmmakers, digital culture innovators, musicians and makers to share their experience with young Irish audiences.  Since then, Creative Minds has provided a broad platform for new conversations about the intersection of innovation and the arts between our two nations.  It is the talent and creativity of innovative people that add meaning to our shared heritage, these attributes are at the heart of what it means to be Irish and American.”