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Speech of An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., Vice President’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, Naval Observatory


For the third year, I am honoured to join you at the Naval Observatory to celebrate Ireland’s national day and the enduring bonds of friendship between our two countries.


Mr Vice President, thank you for your kindness and your hospitality.




It’s always a pleasure to catch up with your family, and especially your remarkable mother, Nancy.


I am glad I  could return the hospitality when Nancy led a delegation to Dublin in September that included you and Karen.

It was an honour to show you the service records of your remarkable grandfather - Richard Michael Cawley - Nancy’s father – who served with distinction as a member of our Defence Forces.






The records tell us that 20395 was his service number, and that he showed a courage and determination beyond his years.  He fought to ensure that the new Irish State, conceived in liberty, would not be allowed to perish from the earth, and he helped preserve the independence we enjoy today.  He was among the first to walk along the stepping stones to Irish freedom.


As President Eisenhower believed ‘Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.’  That faith has guided his descendants, and has been passed on to every new generation.



As we know, the father of the American navy was Commodore John Barry from Wexford.  He was the first of thousands of Irishmen and women to serve your Navy with distinction.


And I know you will be aware of the Midshipmen’s impending visit to Dublin to take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. 


This is a College Football rivalry almost as ancient as St Patrick’s Day itself.


It too is rooted in bonds of friendship, kinship and respect.


Mr Vice President, I know how close your ties are to both institutions.  So I am sure that you will be following the fortunes of these great teams when they play in Dublin in August. 


Commodore Barry is a link between Ireland and the new United States.   So too was Richard Michael Cawley, and hundreds and thousands like him. 


Dreamers who believed in a better future, and had the courage to make that vision a reality. 


That same dream is shared by our countries today.  We face new challenges, new threats, and we need courage and vision to overcome them.


The United States is separated from Europe by a vast ocean, but when it comes to shared interests the distance is very narrow.


Ireland provides a link between the European Union and the United States and we want to do more.  


We want to be more than a locus for investment, or a market for trade, we believe we can be a broker for stronger partnerships, great ideas and bold solutions.


Together, Europe and the United States have been the engine of global prosperity and security for many decades, shaping the world’s trading system and the multilateral institutions that govern it.


In responding to the threats we face today – whether climate change or the Covid 19, shifting demographics, migration or international security – the solutions will be found by working together.


  1. It roughly translates as, ‘Two travellers together make the road shorter’. 


I believe our best future lies travelling together to shorten that road.


Mr Vice President, Mrs Pence,





Thank you again for your hospitality, and for continuing this great tradition for St Patrick’s Day each year. 


As we continue on our road together, Ireland is grateful to have your country travelling with us.


A happy St Patrick’s Day to you all.