TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has told an American audience at Harvard that Ireland has been through a “bleak midwinter” but is now focused on recovery and opportunity.
The Taoiseach’s speech at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Massachusetts last night focused on re-asserting Ireland’s place in the world, noting that there is now less talk of Ireland’s difficulties and more about recovery.
“I won’ t pretend to you that it’s been easy. The road is long, but we’ve made a firm start,” said the Taoiseach.
He praised the wealth and value of Ireland and the Irish people, saying that it was “as wealth that can never be accumulated in banks, or measured by the markets or traded on the stock exchange”.
“Yes – in recent times we have hit the headlines for reasons we would not have wished. But if that which has been so explicit and so public about Ireland has been negative then I can assure you it is equally something temporary passing,” the Taoiseach told the audience.
He described the bailout by the troika as “a bleak midwinter… for our country, our pride, our people”.
The Taoiseach quoted President Kennedy on his 1963 visit to Ireland, who had described how Ireland’s “remarkable combination of hope, confidence and imagination that is needed more than ever today”.
“50 years on, I’m proud to report it still is,” said the Taoiseach.
The visit is the Taoiseach’s second visit to the east coast of America in the space of a week. Last week he was in New York for the Invest in Ireland forum along with former president Bill Clinton to encourage business leaders to consider investing in Ireland.