Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney was honored by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday when she presented him with the Chief of Mission (COM) flag for his service as the United States Ambassador to Ireland. Rooney served as the Ambassador from July, 2009 until December, 2012, when he returned to Pittsburgh.
Clinton welcomed Rooney and his wife Patricia to the State Department and thanked him for his work in Ireland, before presenting him the COM flag and Mrs. Rooney an American flag.
Rooney became the first U.S. Ambassador to visit all 32 counties in Ireland, both North and South, and worked toward the peace efforts and bolstering the economy.
“Madame Secretary, before I left for Ireland, you asked me to strengthen the friendship and ties between Ireland and the United States,” Rooney said after accepting the flag. “You charged me to keep a special watch on the peace process and to look for ways we could better partner with the Irish government to advance the cause of peace. This is what I have always tried to do. And I believe that is what I have done.
“The peace in the North is still a process. It is an ongoing effort. But we have hope. Things are better and they will continue to get better, despite issues needing to be resolved.”
Rooney also presented Clinton with an official game ball that he signed as an appreciation for her service as Secretary of State.
“I am an American of Irish heritage,” said Rooney. “Ireland has always been special to me and I have a deep love for the Irish people. I have had a lifelong commitment to advancing the relationship between the American and Irish people. I thank you and President (Barack) Obama for your trust and for the privilege of serving as Ambassador of the United States.”