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Enda Kenny received a standing ovation at Boston College following his powerful 26-minute speech Photo by: Connell Gallagher

Irish leader delivers powerful commencement speech at Boston College as Cardinal Sean O'Malley snubs event

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Enda Kenny received a standing ovation at Boston College following his powerful 26-minute speech Photo by: Connell Gallagher

Irish leader Enda Kenny received a standing ovation on Monday morning when he delivered a rousing commencement speech at Boston College.

Addressing the 6,000 strong crowd, Kenny’s 26-minute speech for the 137th annual Boston College Commencement touched on everything from being a father to Twitter.

The Irish leader’s trip drew controversy after Cardinal Sean O’Malley said he would boycott the ceremony because the Taoiseach was due to speak at the event, accusing the Fine Gael leader of  “aggressively promoting abortion legislation.”

A few dozen protesters demonstrated at the college during the graduation ceremony. They held signs with messages that included: “Boston College Keep Your Pro Life Values.”

Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said Monday that the school respects O’Malley and regrets that he didn’t attend graduation.

On the third day of his official state visit Kenny was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in law from the prestigious Jesuit-run Boston school.

"Today, you might feel as if you blinked, only to find your child here, grown, radiant," the Irish leader said, addressing the parents of the graduates.

"Their newly-minted degrees imposters in a life where a whole five-minutes ago, you yourselves, were the font of all knowledge.

"How do bees buzz? If we can see the wind, how come air is invisible ? Why is grass green? What does it taste like?  

"As a Dad, I know that for us, these are areas of both natural brilliance and acquired expertise," he added.

"Today...above all, it’s a day to be thankful for your parents, your step-parents, those who have been as good-as-parents, and your grandparents," he told the class.

"To them, I say look at what you did. You made these young men and women. You made them with your love, exhaustion, exasperation, imagination," he added.

"Today then, as your newly-graduated son or daughter, crosses the lawn, You might find yourself catching your breathing at the turn of the head, a fleeting expression, that you know has its origins deep in generations, histories, secrets long past. 

He added: “Here today are men and women who will go onto become leaders of corporations, or communities, perhaps even of countries.”

“You will lead, rooted in the values of your families, of your faith and of this great university.”

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