Stella O’Leary had a political vision for Irish Americans and turned her idea into actions by founding the Irish American Democrats. O’Leary began the political action committee in 1996 to support the re-election of President Bill Clinton, who encouraged peace in Ireland during his first term. The main goal of the IAD is to support “Democratic candidates who promote peace, justice and prosperity in Ireland.”
O’Leary, who serves as president of the IAD, is a native of Dublin and graduated from University College, Dublin. She archived a collection of rare Irish books and manuscripts at Catholic University after immigrating to America over 40 years ago. She also co-authored the reference volume, Classical Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography.
The IAD showed their support for President Obama in the 2008 election, as Barack Obama has Irish roots. O’Leary was appointed by Obama as the alternate observer of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) along with Dan Hynes as head observer. The IFI has funded over a billion dollars for peace and reconciliation projects across Northern Ireland and in surrounding areas.
With O’Leary as their leader, the IAD continues to work with the White House, Senate and U.S. House of Representatives members to support U.S. involvement in peace for Ireland. It has also raised millions of dollars in support of Democratic congressional and presidential candidates.