Steelers owner Dan Rooney to be ambassador to Ireland
Steelers' owner Dan Rooney Sr. walks with President Barack Obama near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center during the campaign last year.
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President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate Steelers owner Dan Rooney as ambassador to Ireland.
In a White House ceremony this morning, Mr. Obama called Mr. Rooney a "great friend" and cited his efforts to support peace in 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," Mr. Obama said in a prepared 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."
Mr. Rooney was in Washington last night to be honored by the American Ireland Fund, the group he has nurtured as a force for peace in Northern Ireland. He was at the White House today, St. Patrick's Day, for a reception for Brian Cowen, the Irish Taoiseach, or prime minister.
Mr. Rooney was an outspoken campaigner for President Barack Obama. He presented the then-candidate with a Steelers jersey as he introduced him at Mr. Obama's final appearance in Pittsburgh before the election.
Congressman Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair lauded Mr. Rooney's selection today, calling it a proud day for Pittsburgh and the nation.
"In my role as Republican vice chairman of the Friends of Ireland Caucus, I have often turned to Dan for advice and information regarding Irish American issues," Mr. Murphy said in a statement. "He knows the governmental, business and educational leaders throughout the country and has built strong working relationships with all of them."
Steelers President Art Rooney II said that his father would do "an outstanding job."
"Our operations at the Steelers will continue as they have in the past," Mr. Rooney said in a statement. "Right now our focus is on the upcoming NFL Draft. . . . This is an exciting time for my father and for the Steelers. Our goal, as it is every year, is to win another Super Bowl championship."
First Published March 17, 2009 9:28 am