Message from Consul General Brian O’Brien, 

22nd Consul General of Ireland to Chicago and the US Midwest

A Chairde, Dear Friends, 

Since taking office as Consul General in December, I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of Ireland Network Chicago events and seeing first-hand the outstanding work you do to deepen connections between our global island and this great global city.  

I arrived in Chicago at the end of what was a historic year for the Irish community here. Last May, the city was honoured by the appointment of Chicago resident Billy Lawless as Ireland’s first Senator for the Diaspora. In August, Beverley born Maggie McEldowney was crowned the 57th Rose of Tralee, the first time a Chicago Rose to claim the award in three decades. And on 5th November, in front of a record-breaking crowd at Soldier Field, Ireland’s senior men’s rugby team defeated the All Blacks for the first time in 111 years of trying, a losing streak even the Cubs couldn’t match.

IN-Chicago played a significant role in marking these historic achievements. And you were also at the heart of local commemorations of the Easter rising of 1916, partnering with the Consulate, the Irish Fellowship, the Irish Georgian Society and others to host a major event at the Cultural Centre in June. Through events like this, and through the excellent IN Conversation, grant aided by our Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, IN-Chicago continues to connect Irish and Irish-American professionals across this city. This matters hugely, because, whether political, in the arts or in business, the ties between Ireland and Chicago are ultimately developed, refreshed and sustained by people.

Nurturing these personal relationships, ensuring that Chicagoans’ attachment to and understanding of Ireland is passed from one generation to the next, has been a priority of our Consulate since we opened our doors in 1933. It will remain so throughout my time as Consul General. Indeed, in the months and years ahead, as we seek to promote our nation’s values and protect our people’s interests, such communication will be more important than ever. 

In this endeavour, our small team at the Consulate looks forward to further deepening our cooperation with IN-Chicago, under the stewardship of your new President, James Sheehan, and his Committee. We are grateful to you, and to all those who have devoted their time and effort to make this organisation what it is today. Maith sibh. 

Le gach dea-guĂ­,

Brian O’Brien

Consul General of Ireland

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