Anti-Abortion protest fizzles as Irish leader speaks at Boston College
Enda Kenny gets standing ovation despite Cardinal’s boycott
Only a few dozen protesters appeared, some playing bagpipes. Organizers had hoped that hundreds would come and protest Kenny who is set to introduce Ireland’s first abortion law since 1861 after the Supreme Court ruled that the life of the mother had to be safeguarded in unique circumstances.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley had boycotted the ceremonies after Kenny’s bill was introduced in parliament.
Excerpts of Kenny’s speech, which was greeted with a standing ovation are included below.
“I’m honored to speak here today and be admitted to the distinguished ranks of the alumni of Boston College. Your invitation signals the enduring kindness and affection between our peoples. It symbolises the bond of ‘hope and history’ between two nations either side of the Atlantic.
"In your kind invitation to me, know that you honour all the generations of Irish people.”
The Taoiseach said of the graduating students: “Here today, are men and women who will go on to be leaders of corporations, communities, countries. You will lead, rooted in the values of your families, your faith and this great university.”
“Those, privileged to lead this, or any other democracy, will do so not as Catholic or Protestant or Dissenter, but as men and women guided by and beholden to nothing but the law, the Constitution and above all, the people. All the people. Of all faiths. And none. You will do so without fear or favour because your God, your personal faith, will sustain you. Constant, immutable, they are, and will always be, with you. Keep them close and you will never face your public decisions, your challenges, your difficulties, alone.”
“Today, you sit beside each other, in happiness, great joy. One day, you may cross cities, time zones, oceans, to sit beside each other again, in very different circumstances. As you do, make sure to pack this old advice. That it matters less what happens to us, than how we deal with it. That, in life, we can allow our experience to strengthen us or diminish us. The choice is ours. As graduates of Boston College, I know what yours will be.”
Referring to the recent attack on the Patriots’ Day Boston Marathon, the Taoiseach said:
“In this city, strength is your default position. The hurt of the Boston Marathon attack is still palpable, but the people of this great city have responded with their usual courage, dignity and compassion.”
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