Oklahoma Senate resolution hails Oklahoma/Irish ties and centennial of diplomatic relations

Oklahoma City – Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the Oklahoma Senate approved Senate Resolution 29 last week, observing Oklahoma’s historic ties to the Emerald Isle, and celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the United States and Ireland.

Sen. Mary Boren, D-Norman, is one of the co-chairs of the bipartisan, bicameral Oklahoma American Irish State Legislators Caucus, formed in 2022 to help bring attention to the relationships between the U.S., the state of Oklahoma, and the Republic of Ireland. That friendship predates Oklahoma’s statehood and Ireland’s independence.

“SR 29 highlights an incredible chapter in Oklahoma’s history. In 1847, not long after enduring the Trail of Tears, the Choctaw people heard about the famine in Ireland – one million people died of starvation. The Choctaws raised about $170, a fortune considering all they’d just come through, and sent it to Ireland to help the hungry,” Boren said.

“That was a powerful humanitarian gesture, and one Ireland has never forgotten.”

Boren noted that many Oklahomans have Irish ancestry and that heritage is kept alive through the celebration of Irish music, dance, food and more, especially in March, culminating with St. Patrick’s Day.

The Tulsa Irish Fest has become a major annual festival, with events like ShamRock the Gardens and the Stockyards St. Patrick’s Parade in Oklahoma City.

Other celebrations were slated in communities throughout Oklahoma as well.

“We’re also one of many states honoring this year’s 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ireland and the United States,” Boren said.

“As a part of our celebrations in Oklahoma, we were very proud to host the Consul General of Ireland, Robert Hull, who attended events in Oklahoma City and Tulsa this past week.”

Other co-chairs of the Oklahoma American Irish Legislators Caucus include Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, Sen. Roland Pederson, R-Burlington, Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City, Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa. Rep. Clay Staires, R-Skiatook, and Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa.

A copy of S.R. 29 will be distributed to Sen. Mark Daly, Chair of the Senate of Ireland.

Last week, members of the bipartisan, bicameral Oklahoma American Irish State Legislators Caucus gathered at the state Capitol to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Ireland and to observe St. Patrick’s Day.

Those joining the celebration included caucus co-Sen. Pederson, Sen. Hicks, Rep. Forrest Bennett, Senate page Aidan Attaway of Norman, Rep. Pae, Sen. Boren, D-Norman, Rep. Staires, Rep. Sims, and Rep. Hill.