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U.S. Ambassador Hosts Panel on President’s First Year in Office

In celebration of President Obama’s first year in office, PAS Dublin, in association with University College Dublin’s Clinton Institute of American Studies, hosted an evening panel discussion and reception within the Embassy’s iconic Rotunda.  The panel, comprised of Irish media and American studies experts, was chaired by broadcast star Ryan Tubridy, who hosts his own daily radio show and the world’s longest-running television talk show, The Late Late Show, on Ireland’s National RTE network.  Niall Stanage, author of “Redemption Song: From Hope to Reality,” a critique of the 2008 presidential campaign, was the only Irish journalist on Obama’s campaign plane. His take on the President’s first year was especially meaningful, as he ticked off a slew of accomplishments despite the aforementioned difficulties. The “Meet the Press”-style conversation addressed some of the more contentious aspects of the President’s first year, but the panel also took many optimistic turns with a hopeful “watch this space” attitude.  Ambassador Rooney concluded the evening with a wrap-up of the panel’s performance, and praised President Obama for his honesty, a noble, yet difficult, quality for a world leader.  This discussion was follow-on to similar events hosted by Embassy Dublin in the run-up to the 2008 Presidential election, also hosted by Ryan Tubridy.  The rate of acceptance was astounding, and a variety of people were in attendance, including government officials, student, media stars, and diplomats.  The Kenyan Ambassador to Ireland was there and asked the panel what they thought was in store for Africa under the Obama administration, and noted that the Kenyan celebration of President Obama’s inauguration was even more joyous than in Washington. “He is beloved in Kenya,” she said. “As much as we all loved Kennedy, nothing compares to how we feel about Obama.”