IRELAND (KPLR) - At the Ireland National Ploughing Championships back in September, Kevin O`Malley made the rounds, shaking hands and talking to people at several meet and greets. He is, after all, the man they call... 'Mr. Ambassador.' Prior to that, O`Malley had another title.
O’Malley said, “Before I came here to Ireland I was assistant U.S. Atorney, federal prosecutor. Then I went into private practice, did medical malpractice, all trial work, was with Greensfelder, Hempker and Gail, in downtown St. Louis, and was there until I came here to Ireland in October of 2014.”
As Europe`s largest farm expo, the National Ploughing Championships is the setting where companies from all over the world showcase their new products and services. The event attracts more than a quarter-million people. It is an appropriate environment to ask O`Malley about fostering international business relationships.
“All of what I'm going to say applies to U.S. in general,” said O’Malley, “but to St. Louis in particular, because I know it better than I know any other city. We've had two trade delegations from St. Louis to Ireland in the two years I've been ambassador. We wanted to get government, universities, private industry together. I wanted the St. Louis delegation to see the tremendous opportunities available here, especially in small and medium-size enterprise.”
While she`s not Bono from U2, Mary Mitchell O`Connor, Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation, is treated like an Irish rock star. Except she, like O`Malley, has the power to affect business at home and abroad.
From the podium at a welcoming banquet, O’Connor said, “To all our delegates, 100,000 welcomes to our delegates from the U.S., Germany, China, Italy, Spain, New Zealand. And of course to our own Irish businesses.”
The U.S. Ambassador to Ireland serves at the pleasure of the president. O’Malley was asked what the future holds in store for him.
“I spoke with the President recently,” he said, back in September, “and promised him I would ‘run through the tape’ here. We're going to go full-speed ahead until the end of the administration.”
Before Mr. O`Malley returns to his home in St. Louis, he will have to leave behind his ancestral home on the island of Ireland.