Prime Minister of Ireland Enda Kenny at the White House gives us some of the best reasons to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here, and serves as a eloquent reminder America is at our best when we are a welcoming country that values immigrants and refugees.
Thanks to Vox and writer German R Lopez for the coverage. Here’s Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s fitting address at the White House:
"We were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore," Irish prime minister says with Donald Trump in the room. pic.twitter.com/7jEfTVvIzE
— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) March 17, 2017
It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. He too of course was an immigrant. And though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe he’s also a symbol of — indeed the patron of — immigrants.
Here in America, in your great country, 35 million people claim Irish heritage, and the Irish have contributed to the economic, social, political, and cultural life of this great country over the last 200 years. Ireland came to America because, 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 can do for us, but what we could do for America. And we still do.