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Enda woos Washington

The taoiseach has insisted that Ireland is “wide open and ready for business” during his first official engagement in Washington – and also talked romantically about the Ireland’s relationship with America.
Mar 16th 2011, 9:32 PM 2,481 0

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has been on a mission to rebuild Ireland’s reputation in the US and ensure investors that the country is on the road to recovery.

In his first visit to the US capital as taoiseach ahead of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations tomorrow, Kenny described Ireland as “America’s gateway to Europe” and added that the country is “wide open and ready for business.”

Kenny painted a picture of Ireland’s long relationship with the United States: “Ireland and America share a long and warm story – a story of generosity and affection, love and longing, hope and history,” he said, “When times were bad, you took us in – gave us a chance to share the American dream. In turn, we gave back a thousandfold. In every generation since, ours were the genes that built America.”

The taoiseach also talked about the affection with which the American people were held in Ireland – calling the desire to learn about our American cousins a “national obsession”. He said: “Now, if you’ve been to Ireland you’ll know that we’ll go to extraordinary lengths to find out about ‘your people’ – meaning who you are, where you come from.”

“I can only sum it up by the great Irish romantic proposal. Tradition has it, for generations, we’d get down on one knee and ask: ‘would you like to be buried with my people?’ – that was before we got those rings from Tiffany”, he joked.

To top it off, Kenny said: “You represent the cornerstone of Ireland’s relationship with America. In the week that’s in it, I can say you’re not just a brilliant resource – you are a national treasure.”

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Jennifer Wade

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