On Wednesday, March 14, The Ireland Funds, a global fundraising network for people of Irish ancestry and friends of Ireland, hosted its 26th Annual National Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. The event symbolized the strong and lasting relationship between Ireland and the U.S. The Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, addressed over 750 guests at the gala, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and 25 members of Congress as well as Irish and Irish American leaders in business, government, the media, and the arts.
At the O’Neill and Associates’ table, COO Shelly O’Neill and Vice Chairman John Cahill hosted Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), and former Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA). This year’s gala recognized the work of two Irish-American Congressmen – Representative Richard Neal (D-MA-1) and Representative Peter King (R-NY-2), Chairs of the Friends of Ireland Caucus in Congress. The celebration also honored Anne Finucane, Vice Chair, Bank of America and Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions.
In his remarks, Congressman Neal passionately reaffirmed the enormous commitment embodied in the historic Good Friday Agreement. Prime Minister Varadkar received a standing ovation for his speech on the shared values of Ireland and encouraged people to strive for peace and reconciliation at all levels in Northern Ireland.
The gala raised over $1 million that will benefit a variety of causes in Ireland.