ON the week that President Obama made his historic visit to Offaly comes the news that there is another Offaly Man in the White House. Tullamore-educated Tim Feighery was recently sworn-in as Chairman of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States by the Attorney General Eric Holder at a ceremony in the former office of Robert Kennedy in the White House.
In his speech at the ceremony the Attorney General made reference to Tim’s Offaly links. “As you know, in Ireland’s County Offaly, where Tim grew up, where much of his family still lives, and where President Obama can trace a great, great, great grandfather - the county motto is very important. And it consists of just two simple words: “Be Faithful.”
“This is not merely a credo; it is a directive. It’s a call to live out our most cherished values in a world where the answers to our problems are often difficult to find and even harder to implement. Not only is this imperative consistent with the proud history of the Irish people – it is reflective of the singular dedication that Tim has brought to every challenge he has faced.”
Tim was nominated for the position by President Obama on November 15, 2010, and confirmed by the Senate on March 10, 2011.
His formative years were spent in Tullamore when his father Tom and mother Anne (Nancy, nee Drumm) came to live here in the 1970s with their eight children. He was educated at the Christian Brothers on High Street before returning to the USA to attend Fordham University where he studied Law.
From 2003 to 2004, Tim Feighery was a Deputy Special Master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, where he was responsible for assessing claims for compensation by victims of the 9/11 attacks. Prior to that, he served as a Team Leader (1996-1998), and later became Chief of Section of the Legal Services Branch (2000-2003) of the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva, established to address claims arising out of Iraq’s 1990 invasion and occupation of Kuwait.
Previously, Tim worked as a Senior Attorney in the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission and as an Associate at Kaye Scholer LLP. He also served as Co-Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Committee on International Courts and has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at the George Mason University School of Law and Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland. Tim holds a B.A. and J.D. from Fordham University.
When contacted by the Offaly Express last week Tim commented: “you know how life is funny, you go – get led sometimes – in different directions, but when things like this happen I’m just glad that there is perhaps some level of achievement that reflects well on your family and more generally on your community, and for me Tullamore is where I grew up and spent my formative years so I hope it reflects well on that great town and the great county of Offaly!
The formal swearing-in ceremony, which was held in Robert F. Kennedy’s old office in the White House, took place last week and was attended by Tim’s parents, his sisters Nancy and Chrissie (both of whom were educated at the Sacred Heart School in Tullamore) and his cousin Deirdre Dowling from Tullamore who travelled to Washington especially for the event.
Tim has fond memories of the CBS Tullamore and was delighted to hear about the new school building and the forthcoming re-union for past pupils prior to the demolition of the old school buildings. “I remember often shoveling coal into the cellars there after deliveries! I’d love to be able to attend the grand finale, but I have a family event that weekend in Indiana.”