March 14 - U.S. President Barack Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny participate in the annual shamrock ceremony at the White House in observance of St. Patricks Day. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama and Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny celebrated U.S.-Irish relations during the annual shamrock ceremony at the White House on Friday (March 14), three days ahead of St. Patrick's day. The evening event came after a day of talks between the two leaders, which included the topics of Ireland's economic progress following the financial crisis, Ukraine, and immigration reform. During the shamrock ceremony, Obama hailed the Irish immigrant success story in America. "In Newburyport, Massachusetts, in the early twentieth century, two-thirds of Irish-Americans were members of the working class, just one-third in the middle class," Obama said. "But if you looked at the third generation alone, the grandchildren of Irish immigrants, the numbers were reversed. The majority had broken into the middle class, so, the American dream has always been the Irish-American dream." Kenny expressed confidence that Obama would be able to reform the U.S. immigration system, which many critics say is broken. "This evening, as we celebrate St. Patrick, who was himself an immigrant, Mr. President, I am heartened by your words, and I thank you for all you are doing, and others in this great country are doing, to help our men and women living here undocumented. We know America will sort this out," Kenny said. The ceremony concluded with Obama and Kenny collectively lifting a pot full of shamrocks. The green, three-leaf clovers are recognized as a symbol of the Irish people and a good luck charm.