The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD addressed the Irish American Partnership during her visit to Boston as part of St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
The Irish American Partnership connects the Irish and American communities directly with education in the North and South of Ireland. The Partnership has provided over $33 million in support to primary schools, higher education institutions and community organisations on the island of Ireland over the years.
Addressing a gathering of the members of the Partnership Minister Foley said: “It is my great honour to be in Boston, the capital of Irish America, on this St. Patrick’s Day. I know that for the past two years we have not been able to celebrate our national day and our Irish heritage as we usually would.
“As Minister for Education in particular and as a former teacher, the Partnership’s focus on education, youth and wellbeing in Ireland, North and South, has special resonance for me.
“Today the 17th of March we gather to celebrate our Irishness. It is a time to pay homage to that sense of togetherness that connects 80 million people around the globe.
“Ireland is not just a place but a feeling, a tribal sense of belonging that we can never, or ever want to, leave behind. Ireland is a place that is privileged to enjoy democratic freedoms, handed down to us by previous generations.”
The Minister added: “The events of these past weeks in Ukraine have shown us once again that community is a universal value that demands meaningful solidarity with our fellow human beings. As the tragic events have unfolded, we have worked with our EU partners and through our membership of the UN Security Council to support the people of Ukraine.
“Today our national holiday is about solidarity rather than celebration.”