The Tribe: The Inside Story of Irish Power and Influence in US Politics

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Gill Books, Oct 18, 2019 - Political Science - 256 pages

In The Tribe, Caitríona Perry is on familiar ground, returning to Washington and the green strongholds of the United States.

Irish Americans were once considered kingmakers in local and national elections, but generations of assimilation and rising numbers of newer immigrants have diluted that power. Many even argue that the concept of an Irish vote is dead.

But through exclusive interviews with powerful Irish American insiders, including President Bill Clinton, President Donald Trump’s former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, legendary Boston mayor Ray Flynn and many more, a clear sense that the Irish are still wielding valuable soft power at the highest levels of US politics emerges.

Here, Caitríona Perry gets to the heart of the source and effectiveness of Irish power and influence in America and how it could, or should, evolve in a post-Brexit world, offering a fascinating insight into the inner workings of US politics.

Perspectives on Irish America from some of the interviewees in The Tribe

‘I knew getting involved in Northern Ireland was a controversial thing to do, but I knew that America had an unusual impact or potential impact on the situation. I just thought we had the largest Irish diaspora in the world, and we ought to get involved.’ Former US President Bill Clinton

‘Often times we work on Irish issues together across the aisle because of the cultural connection. Is that a voting bloc? No. Does that mean the Irish punch way above their weight? Yes, it absolutely does.’ Chief of Staff to President Trump, Mick Mulvaney

‘The thing that is truly unique in America is that there is not another country that gets the attention that Ireland does. So our entire country stops and celebrates St Patrick’s Day in a way that we don’t celebrate any other culture or country.’ Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

‘The commitment that our countries have made to each other, regardless of party, regardless of who’s in power back in Ireland or here at home, is something to be nurtured and respected and it would be a shame for anybody to do any damage to that.’ Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy III

‘The relationship between Ireland and the US is not a political tie. It’s a tie at a cellular level.’ Kevin O’Malley, former US Ambassador to Ireland

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About the author (2019)

Caitríona Perry is an award-winning Irish journalist. She has worked as a broadcast news correspondent since 2000, including four years as RTÉ’s Washington correspondent. She currently anchors RTÉ’s television news programme Six One. Her first book, In America: Tales from Trump Country, was shortlisted for an Irish Book Award.