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Pittsburgh's Irish eyes were smiling

Posted Mar 17, 2016

Steelers' Chairman Dan Rooney hosted the American Ireland Fund Dinner.

St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in style as Heinz Field was awash in green at the America Ireland Fund Pittsburgh Gala.

Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney Sr., along with Pittsburgh businessman Anthony J.F. O’Reilly, created The Ireland Fund, which later merged with the American Irish Foundation (AIF) to create the American Ireland Fund, the leading charitable organization benefiting Ireland.

Rooney has been a driving force in the success the AIF has seen over the years, helping with the American Ireland Fund’s mission of promoting programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development throughout Ireland.

“The American Ireland Fund does things the government can’t even do,” said Rooney. “The main focus right now is with education, including in Northern Ireland they are doing things. Education is where a lot of the focus is going now.

“Peace is where we focused the previous 5-10 years. We have made more strides in the area of peace, there are still issues now, but the people got a taste of what peace was. It’s a step. Now we started to direct our attention to education and it’s been great.”

Irish music was plentiful throughout the evening and Irish dancers entertained the guests, who were there to honor 2016 American Ireland Fund Chairman’s Award winner Bob McCann.

“I have known Bob McCann for 30 years,” said Rooney. “He got involved with the American Ireland Fund, and really was a hard worker and contributed. We were pleased with his input and everything he has done. I can’t say enough about his contributions and efforts for the American Ireland Fund.”