herald

Sunday 30 April 2017

Enda speech blunder as pressure on over Trump

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been left red-faced after a speech in which he was to give the first public acknowledgment he is on the verge of stepping down was edited at the last minute.

Government officials yesterday issued an embargoed copy of a keynote address that Mr Kenny was expected to deliver at The Ireland Fund dinner in Washington.

Among the attendees will be US Vice President Mike Pence and former US senator George Mitchell.

Mr Kenny's speech was to include the line: "On this night - my last with you as Taoiseach."

Significant

However, a revised copy of the speech was issued more than an hour later with the significant line removed.

Although the Taoiseach had privately told the Fine Gael parliamentary party that he will deal with the leadership question on his return from the US, he has never publicly said he will step down in the coming weeks.

Asked about the speech, Mr Kenny said the line should not have been included but refused to elaborate on why it was there in the first instance.

"The speech issued was not approved by the Taoiseach," a spokesman told the Herald.

The embarrassment for the Taoiseach came as Children's Minister Katherine Zappone called on him to challenge US President Donald Trump on his controversial immigration ban.

Mr Kenny is due to meet Mr Trump in the White House today.

"There is a moral obligation on all those in positions of leadership to affirm in our actions and our words, our commitment to the universality, indivisibility and interrelatedness of all human rights, to accountability for human rights violations and abuses, and to the protection of those who are most vulnerable and marginalised," Ms Zappone said.

"In Ireland we have sought to support immigrants who come to our country - indeed it could be argued that St Patrick remains the most famous migrant of all."

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