European Union: Gateway To Europe: An Interview With The US Ambassador To Ireland, Kevin O’Malley

An interview with Kevin O'Malley, newly appointed US Ambassador to Ireland

Declan Black (DB): Congratulations on your appointment as US Ambassador to Ireland. This has been a homecoming of sorts for you, as your own grandparents emigrated to America almost 100 years ago. Can you give us your view on the Ireland of today, given the country's reputation as one of the best places in the world to do business?

Kevin O'Malley (KOM): I was greatly honoured that President Obama asked me to represent the United States in a country I hold so dear. Ireland's journey, in the 100 years since my grandparents emigrated from Co. Mayo, has been an extraordinary story. Since arriving in Ireland in October as Ambassador, I have seen the incredible dynamism of the US-Irish business relationship. The speed of technological development in the last twenty-five years is stunning. Modern Ireland has created a new generation of companies - start-ups, and small and medium-sized entities - that are innovative, globally competitive, and well-connected to the US market. That is a very healthy sign for the future of our relationship.

(DB): You have taken up your position at a time of renewed growth for Ireland's economy. What do you see as key factors for sustaining this growth?

KOM: Ireland's story of economic recovery is compelling. I know it has been a challenging few years, but it is wonderful to see that the economy is growing, unemployment is falling, and optimism is returning. Of course I want to highlight the important role that over 700 US companies here, employing 115,000 Irish, have had in helping the Irish economy get going again.

Ireland is an attractive country for companies to invest in as it is English-speaking with a skilled workforce and is a gateway to Europe with a sound regulatory environment. It is on this basis that Ireland can best compete for investment. Continued investment in Ireland by US corporations will bring new jobs and opportunities, particularly for young people. But don't take my word for it, just look at our investors. Over the five-year period starting in 2008 and ending in 2012, US firms invested more capital in Ireland ($129.5 billion) than in the previous 58 years combined.

(DB): Can you share with us your own outlook for the future of Ireland's business and cultural relationship with the US?

KOM: I am determined to do what I can to strengthen the trade and investment ties between our two countries to continue the shared prosperity. That means harnessing our common enthusiasm in support of an ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. It means building on our strengths in innovation and entrepreneurship. And it means working together with our international partners to find opportunity in common challenges, from data privacy to tax policy, from climate change to protecting our marine environment. President Obama's strategy to boost American innovation is linked closely to economic policies that support entrepreneurship, energy, and basic scientific research. There is much we can do together in these areas, and I look forward to finding ways of capitalising on our common strengths to deepen the amazing economic relationship that our two nations already share.

Today's Ireland is poised to further unlock the potential of human science, technology, arts and culture. Ireland has established a reputation for excellence in pharmaceuticals, information technology, medical devices, and sustainable agriculture, just as Irish arts and culture continue to fascinate and attract visitors. Cultural exchange between Irish and American musicians, writers and artists is stronger than ever and I'm eager to encourage the many creative collaborations taking place between our artistic communities.

(DB): Increasingly, Irish companies are looking to the US to expand their global footprint. What assistance does your Embassy provide in assisting these companies as they explore investment opportunities in the US?

KOM: Ireland is the 8th largest investor in the US. This is an incredible fact for a country of Ireland's size. Successful Irish multinationals have led the way for Irish start-ups that are looking to the US as a first step in their path towards internationalisation. Many Irish companies choose to locate in the US to be close to their customers, to access the market of 317 million consumers, to develop R&D links with universities or to use their US operations as an export base for North and South America.

President Obama created the SelectUSA program in 2011 to highlight the many advantages the United States offers as a location for business and investment. From a vast domestic market, to a transparent legal system, to the most innovative companies in the world, America is a great place for business. Under the SelectUSA program, our Embassy team in Ireland assists Irish companies to gather the information each needs.

Our embassy staff can help develop a network of contacts to assist companies in making their investment decisions leading to the support of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. More information is available at

(DB): You have predicted that the US and Europe will sign a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Treaty in the future. Can you give us some insight into what you think that would mean for business growth between the two?

KOM: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard trade and investment agreement. As President Obama has said, the agreement's completion is critical to supporting jobs and boosting exports in both the United States and in Europe. The United States is a world leader when it comes to protecting worker rights and the environment. The United States and Europe already maintain high levels of protection for labour and for the environment. TTIP should reflect this shared commitment, which may become a model for others to follow, and encourage even greater transatlantic cooperation.

President Obama has made clear that he would not sign an agreement that weakens protections, including safeguards for consumers and the environment. Now more than ever, it is important that we stand and work together. The United States is committed to moving forward with TTIP, not only because it has the potential to expand growth and investment on both sides of the Atlantic, but it also opens the way for us to set global standards and to renew our strong partnership across the ocean.

(DB): What's your view on the classic question of Irish foreign policy: should we face Boston or Berlin?

KOM: Actually, I think that is a false choice. Ireland is a key part of America's strategic partnership with the European Union which is more necessary than ever to find solutions to the challenges we face. And the strong ties between Ireland and the United States are part of a larger context of transatlantic relations. Demographically, Ireland is one of the youngest countries in Europe and that is a tremendous source of dynamic potential. Ireland played a significant role during its presidency of the EU Council in stewarding the launch of the TTIP negotiations and getting both sides to agree on a starting point for these crucial talks. As Ambassador, I intend to broaden and strengthen the unique bonds between our two great countries which form a crucial role in the transatlantic community.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
21 Jan 2018, Seminar, Dublin, Ireland

We are delighted to sponsor Airline Economics Growth Frontiers 2018 Conference taking place in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin from 21 to 24 January 2018.

23 Jan 2018, Business Breakfast, Dublin, Ireland

We are pleased to sponsor a Dublin Chamber of Commerce breakfast briefing at 8am on Tuesday 23 January at our offices at South Bank House, Barrow Street, with Vanessa Tierney of Abodoo.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions