Remarks of the President and Irish Ambassador Tadhg F. O'Sullivan at a St. Patrick's Day Ceremony

March 15, 1985

The Ambassador. Mr. President, it's an old established tradition that a shamrock is presented to the President of the United States on St. Patrick's Day -- I hope I can get this pin out. [Laughter] And this reflects the ties of kinship between the Irish in our island and the Irish here in the United States of whom you, sir, are the great representative. Thank you. And St. Patrick's Day is a day which reminds us all of these ties of kinship and affection. This year, in particular, we recall with special pleasure your own visit to Ireland, your visit to Galway, my own hometown, sir, where you were given the freedom of the city, and your stay in Ashford Castle.

This year is also the 800th anniversary of the city of Cork, an ancient seaport town in the south of Ireland with a long tradition of silvermaking. Indeed, it is said -- a legend has it that Saint Finbarr, the patron of Cork and in a way the founder of the original settlement there, was himself a silversmith.

And to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the city of Cork, I present to you, sir, on behalf of all citizens of Cork and all Irish people, this silver dish.

Thank you.

The President. Well, thank you very much. And I would like in return to present to you, before my remarks, this letter. And you will notice that there is a very special letterhead on this White House stationery.

The Ambassador. [Spoke in Gaelic.]

The President. Well, I'm pleased that we could get together since on St. Patrick's Day we will be out of town; as a matter of fact, we'll be out of the country. But I'm always happy to spend St. Patrick's Day with great Irishmen, who reciprocate the warm hospitality that greeted us on our trip to Ireland last year.

And concerning Northern Ireland, I applaud and encourage the active Anglo-Irish dialog and support all those who are working for peaceful reconciliation there. And among them very prominently is Ambassador Tadhg O'Sullivan, who's working for that reconciliation.

I'm honored to receive this shamrock and will wear it as an expression of my hope for peace and good will in the year ahead. Friendship with Ireland and the Irish people is deep and enduring.

I understand that this bowl here has, as we've been told, a special historical meaning for the city of Cork. It has a little historical meaning for me also because I understand that the Clan Reagan is very prominent in Cork and in that city.

To add some special flavor now, I would like to have a presentation made to the Ambassador: Girl Scout cookies are world famous, and here in emerald uniform are some representatives of the Girl Scouts. And one of them is going to present Girl Scout cookies to the Ambassador.

The Ambassador. Thank you.

The President. You have done it already. [Laughter] Well -- --

The Ambassador. Stand there, and we'll do it again -- [laughter] -- --

The President. The -- yes, just put -- --

[At this point, the presentation was made.]

The President. There.

The Ambassador. Thank you.

The President. Now -- because I'm afraid that those people with the cameras didn't see you. Well, thank you very much, and thank you all for being here.

The Ambassador. Thank you, girls.

Girl Scouts. Thank you.

The Ambassador. Appreciate it; you're very kind.

The President. I didn't -- are those special uniforms for the day? [Laughter] Well, thank you all for being here, and thank you, Mr. Ambassador.

The Ambassador. Thank you, sir.

The President. I'm very proud to have this.

The Ambassador. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Reporter. Mr. President, when's Gorbachev coming here? [Laughter]

The President. This is an Irish day. We're only talking about Irish who are already here.

Q. Well, Mr. President, are you going to use your shillelagh on Republican Senators who don't support you? [Laughter]

The President. I hadn't thought of it, but it's an idea. [Laughter]

Note: Ambassador O'Sullivan spoke at 10:53 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.