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Congressional Record documentation researched and provided by Mr. Dave Phillips.
U.S. CONGRESSIONAL RECORD ENTRY
Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Irish American Heritage Month
Read by the Honorable Stephen Lynch
Proceedings and Debates of the 111th Congress, First Session
House of Representatives
U.S. Congress seal.

Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 254) recognizing the designation of March 2009 as Irish-American Heritage Month and honoring the significance of Irish-Americans in the history and progress of the United States, as amended.

The Honorable Stephen Lynch, Representative, 8th Congressional District of Massachusetts.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution. The text of the resolution is as follows:

H. RES. 254: Whereas from the earliest days of the Nation, America has inspired the hopes and dreams of countless individuals from around the world in search of a better life for themselves and their children;

Whereas these individuals have come to share in America's gifts of freedom, justice, and opportunity, and, in turn, America's democracy and great diversity owe their success in large part to these immigrants;

Whereas, since before the United States was even founded, Irish men and women undertook the perilous journey to make their home in this place of hope and promise, making inestimable contributions to their new country, both during the struggle for independence and in the founding of the republic;

Congressional Record Entry
April 21, 2009
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Whereas nine of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Irish origin and 19 Presidents of the United States can proudly claim Irish heritage, including the first President of the United States, George Washington;

Whereas Irish immigrants who came to the United States during the Great Famine of the 1840's helped transform America's largest cities, building them into dynamic centers of commerce and industry, and the cultural, economic, and spiritual contributions of these immigrants continue to be evident today throughout the United States;

Whereas, with strength, courage, wit, and creativity, Irish-Americans have flourished, making significant contributions in all areas of American life;

Whereas Irish-American writers such as Eugene O'Neill, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and George Bernard Shaw transformed American literature, entrepreneurs like Henry Ford helped revolutionize American transportation and industry, performers such as Gregory Peck, John Wayne, and Helen Hayes enriched the arts, and social reformers such as suffragist Leonora Barry and labor organizer Mary Kenney O'Sullivan fought for the rights of others;

Whereas Irish-Americans have served ably in their communities in numerous capacities, such as public safety and government, including four-term New York State Governor Alfred E. Smith, and in the Armed Services in every war in which the United States has ever fought, including patriots such as Audie Murphy, America's most decorated soldier of World War II;

Whereas approximately one in four Americans trace at least part of their ancestry to Ireland;

Whereas generations of Irish-Americans have worked alongside their fellow Americans to build a more perfect Union, and the United States is a stronger country because of them;

Whereas it is fitting that the House of Representatives honor the rich heritage, enduring contributions, and firm values of the Irish-Americans who continue to enrich and strengthen American families, communities, ideals, and character; and

Whereas President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2009 as Irish-American Heritage Month: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives - (1) recognizes the significant contributions of Irish-Americans in the history and progress of United States; and (2) encourages Americans to celebrate Irish-American heritage with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. LYNCH) and the gentleman from Utah (Mr. CHAFFETZ) each will control 20 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts.

General Leave: Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts?

There was no objection.

Mr. LYNCH. I now yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, representing the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and being one of Irish heritage, I am happy to rise in support of this resolution, House Resolution 254, which is a bill to recognize the importance of Irish-American heritage and to honor the significance of Irish-Americans in the history of the United States.

This bill was introduced by my friend and colleague last month, CAROLYN MCCARTHY of New York, on St. Patrick's Day, and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform amended the measure on April 2 in order that it be reported by unanimous consent.

House Resolution 254 gives the Members of this Chamber the chance to honor the valuable contributions that Americans of Irish heritage have made to our country since its inception. In fact, nine of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were men of Irish origin, and Irish-Americans have served in the Armed Services for this country in every war in which the United States has ever fought. At least 19 Presidents of the United States can claim Irish heritage, including our current President, Barack Obama.

The works of Eugene O'Neill, F. Scott Fitzgerald and George Bernard Shaw remain invaluable parts of our literary history. Artists including Gregory Peck, John Wayne and Helen Hayes have helped enrich our Nation's culture, and social reformers such as suffragist Leonora Barry and labor organizer Mary Kenny O'Sullivan fought to extend basic rights to others. Henry Ford's assembly line revolutionized manufacturing, and Irish immigrants who settled here in the 1840s helped to make our largest cities into centers of commerce and industry.

I would like to thank my colleague, the gentlelady from New York, CAROLYN MCCARTHY, for sponsoring this measure. I would also like to thank the ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the gentleman from California (Mr. ISSA), for helping us to get it to the floor today.

Many emigrated here from Ireland, hoping to share in our freedom and prosperity. In turn, they have helped to make our country great. For their countless contributions to American history and progress, I urge my colleagues to support the quick passage of House Resolution 254.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. CHAFFETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

What began with 300,000 Irish immigrants in 1776 has grown to more than 44 million Irish-Americans today. Throughout our Nation's history, the Irish who came to America saw the promise and hope for their future. Once here, they have been instrumental in building a Nation from the ground up - working on farms, constructing railways and creating major centers of commerce throughout the country. The Irish have done much to build up this country with their blood, sweat and tears. We have all seen countless ways in which these Irish-Americans have advanced our Nation politically, economically and culturally.

Since first arriving here, the Irish in America have demonstrated a commitment to the growth and prosperity of the Nation through their talent and their values. Their contributions have represented the depth and breadth of American society from the most humble to the most exalted. Nineteen Presidents, including George Washington, and at least eight signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Irish ancestry. Two hundred sixtythree recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor were born in Ireland, and the list of contributions by Irish- Americans goes on: Elizabeth Cady Stanton's successful fight for women's voting rights; John Barry, the first flag officer of the United States Navy; James Hoban's architectural design for the White House; and Annie Moore's brave passage through Ellis Island as America's first immigrant.

The Irish in America have recognized and have spread the message of opportunity as a result of their great success in our country. The history of our country has shown that the Irish have strengthened the United States in all facets of our growth and development. One in four Americans can trace part of their ancestry to Ireland, including ancestors on my mother's side of my family. Therefore, it is no wonder that the Irish in America have in the past and will continue in the future to strengthen and enrich our country.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support this resolution.

Having no additional speakers, I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, in closing, I just want to thank the gentlelady from New York (Mrs. MCCARTHY). As others are, she is also traveling to Washington at this time, and wanted to be here for this resolution. I ask our colleagues to join Member CAROLYN MCCARTHY in supporting the resolution.

I yield back the balance of my time. The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. LYNCH) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 254, as amended.

The question was taken; and (twothirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the resolution, as amended, was agreed to.

The title was amended so as to read: "A Resolution recognizing the contributions of Irish-Americans in the history and progress of the United States.".

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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