Irish Prime Minister Visits Philadelphia
This week, Enda Kenny, Taoiseach of Ireland, became the first Irish Prime Minister to visit Philadelphia in. . . no one could remember how long.
Kenny, who was leader of Fine Gael, was invited to the city by the Brehon Law Society, which held its second annual Legal Symposium at the Rittenhouse Hotel on Rittenhouse Square October 10-12. The first was held last year in Dublin and Mayo, and Kenny also attended.
On Friday morning, accompanied by a phalanx of Philadelphia police, State Police, and Secret Service agents, Kenny greeted more than 200 people who paid $250 a ticket to have breakfast with him. On Thursday night, he had dinner at the Union League with about 50 people, including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
At a jam-packed breakfast Friday morning at the Rittenhouse, Kenny heaped praise upon his host city.
“There is something about this city of Philadelphia,” he said. “It’s a city of light, of illumination. Right now, I understand there’s a magnificent 3D installation, open air, over on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. That light, made and shaped by thousands of Philadelphians, is a symbol of the light of liberty and democracy, and actually what it means to be a citizen.”
He then went on to deliver a message to those who might be interested in doing business back home: Ireland might not have recovered completely from the economic downturn, but it’s getting extremely close.
Calling Ireland a “changed country,” he promised potential investors that the government will not rest until the job’s done.
“Back at home in Ireland, a time of enormous challenge for the country, we are on the path back to economic revival. That journey is long and challenging and we still have a distance to go, but we are equal to that challenge in the same way we have faced adversity in so many areas, over so many years.”
We captured some video of the event. You can watch it here.
See all the action in our photo essay.