“We believed in the shelter of America, and the compassion of America, and the opportunity of America. We came, and we became Americans.” ~ Enda Kenny
Talk about Irish mojo and the Taoiseach Enda Kenny comes to mind.
The Irish Prime Minister who was a guest at the White House in line with a long held tradition on St. Patricks day seized the opportunity to give a rousing speech in which he reminded everyone including US President Donal Trump about the beauty of immigration.
In the speech which has since gone viral with close to 35m views as at press time, Mr Kenny said that St Patrick whose day was being celebrated around the world was an immigrant and was, in many ways, the patron saint of immigrants along with being the patron saint of Ireland.
He said, “Ireland came to America because we were deprived of liberty, deprived of opportunity, of safety, of even food itself, the Irish believed, and four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp – we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore”.
“We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America.
“We came, and we became Americans. We lived the words of John F. Kennedy long before he uttered them. We asked not what America could do for us, but what we could do for America – and we still do.” he added.
It was indeed a short but powerful speech. Coming a day after Trump’s new immigration ban was halted by a federal court many opinion leaders applauded the message.
Some sections of the US and UK media have gone further to extrapolate that it was an indirect criticism of the American President’s controversial immigration policies.
Occupy Democrats posted the video on their Facebook page captioned “Irish PM SCHOOLS Trump: ‘St. Patrick Was An Immigrant’ Right to Trump’s face!”
Opinions will vary on this one but I can tell you it felt proud to be Irish watching the Taoiseach courageously saying what the British PM who rushed to visit the White House first couldn’t say.
You can watch a video of the full speech here.