Steelers owner heads to Ireland

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney is making his first official trip as U.S. ambassador to Ireland, one day after being sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The State Department says Rooney is traveling to Dublin on Thursday and is to meet with Ireland president Mary McAleese on Friday.

By presenting his credentials to the Irish president, Rooney is officially recognized as the Irish ambassador. His first duty as ambassador will be to attend a Friday luncheon at the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland.

Rooney was a lifelong Republican who backed President Barack Obama during Pennsylvania's presidential primary last year. He campaigned for Obama in the western part of the state and helped him win Pennsylvania in November.