Vice President Joe Biden to Deliver Remarks at the 2013 Irish America Hall of Fame

The Irish America Hall of Fame 2013, C-W from top left: Robert Devlin, Vice President Joe Biden, John Fitzpatrick, Brian Burns, Jean Kennedy Smith and Bruce Morrison

February 19, 2013

Vice President Joe Biden to deliver remarks at the Irish America Hall of Fame 2013 Luncheon and Induction Ceremony

With a special presentation to Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith

Vice President Joe Biden will attend and deliver remarks at the 2013 Irish America Hall of Fame luncheon and induction ceremony on Thursday, March 21 in New York City.

The Irish America Hall of Fame was founded in 2010 by Irish America magazine to honor the extraordinary achievements of Irish-American leaders. To request further information about this special event, click here.

The Vice President is of Irish descent on his maternal side of the family. His great-grandfather James Finnegan immigrated to America from County Louth in 1850.

“Joe Biden’s story is the story of America,” said Irish America’s founding publisher Niall O’Dowd. “From humble beginnings and ancestry in County Louth to the Vice Presidency of the United States, it’s an amazing story.”

The 2013 inductees include art collector, entrepreneur and benefactor Brian Burns, businessman and philanthropist Robert M. Devlin, hotelier and humanitarian John Fitzpatrick, and former congressman Bruce Morrison, an esteemed lawyer, lobbyist and immigration reformer.

“Our Hall of Fame honors those who have excelled in their chosen fields while acknowledging that we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors – those brave Irish who took the first steps into the unknown so that their children might have a brighter future in America,” said co-founder and editor-in-chief Patricia Harty. “All of the 2013 inductees embody this.”

A special presentation will be made to former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, honoring her diplomatic work on peace in Northern Ireland and her furthering of the Kennedy family’s distinguished legacy of public service. This year marks an important milestone in Kennedy history, as the 50th anniversary of both President Kennedy’s seminal visit to Ireland, on which Kennedy Smith accompanied him, and of his tragic death.

The Irish America Hall of Fame celebrates its honorees’ diverse and significant contributions to American and Irish society, and their personal commitment to safeguarding their Irish heritage. The hall is housed at the Dunbrody Famine Ship and National Emigration Centre in New Ross, Co. Wexford, the ancestral town of John F. Kennedy.

Past inductees include President Bill Clinton (2011), actresses Maureen O’Hara (2011) and Fionnula Flanagan (2012), dancer and choreographer Michael Flatley (2011), author Mary Higgins Clark (2011), former Coca-Cola head Don Keough (2010) and executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. Bill Ford, Jr. (2011).

Learn more about the 2013 inductees:

Brian Burns – Art collector, entrepreneur and benefactor.
An Irish-American entrepreneur and CEO of San Francisco-based BF Enterprises, Brian Burns is a business attorney and the force behind many Irish cultural projects. Among numerous other initiatives, he is founder and principal benefactor of the John J. Burns Library of Rare Books, named for his father, at Boston College. The library houses more than 150,000 volumes – the largest research collection of Irish books in the United States.

Robert M. Devlin – Businessman and philanthropist.
A leader in business and a dedicated Irish American, Bob Devlin is chairman of Curragh Capital Partners, a private equity and investment firm he founded in 2002. From 1995 – 2001, he was chairman, president and CEO of American General Corporation, then the third-largest insurance company in America.  A trustee of Tulane University and a former trustee of Boston College, Devlin was co-chairman of the American Irish Historical society, sharing the post with actor Liam Neeson, and was the recipient of the AIHS’s Gold Medal in 2001. Along with President General Dr. Kevin Cahill, he put in place the long-term strategic plan to revitalize the AIHS townhouse, the finest Irish one in the US, and regenerate the society.

John Fitzpatrick – Hotelier and humanitarian.
Fitzpatrick is president and CEO of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group, North America. He serves as chairman of the Hotel Association of NYC and as secretary/treasurer for the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Fitzpatrick is on the boards of both The American Ireland Fund and the Ireland-U.S. Council. In 1993 he founded the Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Foundation in memory of his parents. The foundation has generated more than $1.3 million for charities in the U.S. and Ireland.

Bruce Morrison – Immigration reformer, lawyer and former congressman.
Former Connecticut Congressman Morrison began working on Irish issues in 1983 and won his place in the annals of Irish history when, as a member of the House of Representatives, he authored and helped enact the Immigration Act of 1990, which provided nearly 50,000 Irish citizens with green cards. In the mid-’90s, he also played an active role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process and was part of a delegation of Irish-American business leaders who toured the troubled province in a trip organized by Irish America publisher Niall O’Dowd, which helped secure the first IRA ceasefire.

About Irish America:
Irish America magazine is the leading national glossy publication of Irish interest in North America. Since its inception in October 1985, Irish America has become a powerful vehicle for expression on a range of political, economic, social and cultural themes that are of paramount importance to the Irish in the United States. It has helped re-establish the Irish ethnic identity in the U.S. (34.7 million according to the last U.S. census) and highlights the best political and business leaders, organizations, artists, writers and community figures among the Irish in America, such as superstar and humanitarian Bono, former president of Coca-Cola and chairman of Allen & Company Donald R. Keough, comedian Kathy Griffin, and silver screen legend Maureen O’Hara.



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