Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Speaker of the US House of Representative John Boehner met at Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park on Thursday for “informal talks.”

Boehner described the Irish as America's "oldest and dearest friends".

"I'm looking forward to my visit here to Ireland. We care about this country," he said.

Kenny thanked Boehner for the United States’ support in the wake of the Berkeley balcony tragedy, in which six Irish students died.

Said Boehner: “On behalf of the US Congress, I'd like to express my condolences to the Irish people for the loss of your young ones in California.

"It's been impressive how the Irish have pulled together like a family to deal with the significant loss."

Boehner was accompanied by seven other members of the US Congress on his visit to Ireland. 

The Irish Independent reports that the delegation will meet representatives of Irish and US companies during their trip, while the Speaker of the House will also hold official meetings with a number of ministers.

Said Kenny of Thursday’s meeting: “We chatted about the connections between Ireland and the United States, from their historic importance, and the journey that lies ahead of us.”

The US Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O'Malley, was also in attendance. Kenny praised the ambassador  for his work in "building the links" between Ireland and the US.