Ronald Reagan picture

Statement on the Observance of St. Patrick's Day

March 15, 1985

This year I will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Irishmen from north of our border—in a city more generally thought of for its French, not Irish, customs. Brian Mulroney, a great Irishman and Canadian, has invited me to participate in St. Patrick's Day festivities in Quebec City, and I look forward to sharing our Canadian friends' celebration of this very special day.

As you may know, our planned meeting in Quebec has been dubbed the "Shamrock Summit." I think this is only fitting—yet another indication of the far-reaching influence of the Emerald Isle. As we, all Irishmen, pay tribute to and revel in our shared heritage today, let us remember our kinsmen in the poetic "land across the Irish Sea" and reflect on how we can ensure that they too share fully in the blessings this great heritage has helped bring to us.

Is there a lovelier place on Earth? As a recent visitor, I must answer no. The whole island, from the glens of Antrim to the rugged coast of Cork, has a lyrical welcoming beauty, the memory of which a visitor will retain in his heart forever. Millions of Americans like me already know this; I hope that millions more will discover it.

Yet the tranquil beauty of the land itself is not sufficient to drown out the discord. We in America must make every effort to ensure that, whether knowingly or unknowingly, no material, financial, or psychological help originates from this side of the Atlantic for those who advocate and practice violence. As I have said on many occasions, such persons will find no welcome here. On the contrary, we have intensified our efforts to ensure that the United States is not the source of guns and money for such activities.

We encourage those who strive to peacefully resolve problems underlying the conflict. I also encourage Americans to let their foreign investment and vacation dollars find a profitable haven in the island, an approach that would benefit all. Indeed, we firmly believe that foreign investments, and the employment opportunities that would accompany such investments, can play an increasingly significant role in promoting peaceful change. In this regard, I urge that serious consideration be given to all economic as well as political proposals evolving from a spirit of consensus and reconciliation. We in the United States can be counted on to do our part to ensure that proposals which can be of assistance in promoting this process receive due consideration.

We applaud the increased political interchange in the last year regarding the Irish situation and hope that it leads to forward movement so that soon all Irishmen, whether on the green island or abroad, can share equally in the joy brought by a day like today in the United States, where it is marked by peace, friendship, and harmony.

I wish you all a very happy St. Patrick's Day.

Ronald Reagan, Statement on the Observance of St. Patrick's Day Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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