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Minister of State Ciarán Cannon, TD - Duhallow Choral Society concert

A Dhaoine Uaisle agus a Chairde Gael, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Irish Friends,

Thank you for your very warm welcome.

I would like to thank Father Hurley and Old St. Pat’s for hosting us in this beautiful Church this evening.

Thanks also to the Ireland Network of Chicago, and the Chicago Rose of Tralee for putting this wonderful evening together. As Minister for the Diaspora I want to pay tribute to these organisations for all that they do throughout the year.

The Rose of Tralee brings Irish communities together across the globe to reflect on and celebrate their Irish heritage thus renewing their links to Ireland. The Ireland Network is an invaluable organisation in this city for welcoming and conneting Irish and Irish American people. I salute you.

I have heard that the Duhallow Choral Society have been sharing their wonderful music across this fine city. I very much look forward to hearing their music myself. I know you by reputation already. You are fantastic Ambassadors for Ireland overseas, but I also want to pay tribute to what you do for your community in Ireland. As a musician myself, I understand the sense of wellbeing that comes to me personally from making music with others. I also understand the sense of fellowship that it brings to the wider community and the pride it engenders.

We are very proud of our culture in Ireland and we are very conscious of the role that Chicago has played in maintaining our cultural heritage over the generations. Chicago has also played a role in ensuring Irish culture evolves. This is the hometown of Michael Flatley, who has played a key role in the bringing Irish dance to the world. It is also home to world class fiddler Liz Carroll.

We view Ireland as an Island at the centre of the world, and it is great to be able to connect with the people of Chicago, a city at the centre of America, the most American of cities and a city with a strong Irish heritage. The bonds remain strong between us.

St. Patrick’s Day is a time of celebration in Ireland and for all those of Irish descent and affinity around the world and it is an honour for me, as Ireland’s Minister for the Diaspora, to be here to celebrate with Chicago’s Irish family.

I would now like to welcome Duhallow Choral Society to entertain us with their song. I look forward to meeting you after the concert.

Beannachtaí na Féile Padraig oraibh go léir agus go raibh míle maith agaibh.
Happy St Patrick’s Day to you all. Thank You.

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