Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny arrived in New York on Wednesday evening for a whirlwind trip to the city that will last just over 24 hours, with the highlight coming on Thursday evening when he addresses the annual dinner hosted by the American Ireland Fund at Lincoln Center.
Kenny, seeking to broaden Ireland’s relationship with its diaspora as the country continues to battle a crippling recession, will conduct a series of business meetings and high-profile U.S. media interviews during his brief stay that will stress one of his signature messages since assuming office – Ireland is open for business.
Upon arriving in New York on Wednesday evening – Kenny will depart Dublin in the afternoon after conducting government business – the taoiseach will travel to the Reuters building in Times Square for an interview before heading to the Irish Consulate for a reception for local Irish American community leaders. He is also due to be interviewed by the Fox Business Network.
Kenny is due to arrive at the New York Stock Exchange early on Thursday morning for a round of meetings before heading to the Council on Foreign Relations, where Richard Haass, the body’s president and a former U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland under President George W. Bush, will moderate a conversation between Kenny and up to 100 invited guests.
After that event Kenny, making his first visit to New York since becoming taoiseach in March, will return to the Irish Consulate for a series of meetings with companies supported by the Irish trade agency Enterprise Ireland.
He’ll then head to Lincoln Center for the American Ireland Fund dinner and his address to more than 1,000 influential attendees, among them titans of Wall Street and other U.S. businesses. This year’s guests of honor are boxing legend Muhammad Ali and Irial Finan, the Co. Roscommon-born executive vice president of the Coca-Cola Company.
After his address at the dinner, Kenny is due to immediately depart for Dublin.
During a trip to London last month to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Kenny said that he would soon unveil “a range of initiatives, some of them very exciting,” aimed at the global Irish diaspora.
On Tuesday, the Irish government announced that it will host its second Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin on October 7 and 8 of this year.
The previous Irish government led by Brian Cowen hosted the first such forum in 2009 at Farmleigh, convening a number of leaders from the worlds of business, arts and philanthropy from around the world.
In making the announcement of the new forum, Tanaiste (Deputy Irish Leader) and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore said, “The government recognizes the valuable role the global Irish can play in Ireland’s economic recovery. This forum will provide an opportunity for us to meet with key members of the Diaspora and to discuss our priorities for economic renewal, job creation and the restoration of Ireland’s reputation abroad.”
The invite list for the event will include the more than 300 members of the Global Irish Network, created after the Farmleigh conference and comprising influential “Irish and Irish-connected individuals abroad, all of whom have demonstrated a strong affiliation with Ireland and have a record of high achievement in international business or in assisting in the promotion of Ireland,” according to a government press release.
The release also added that a small number of senior Irish-based individuals from the business and cultural worlds will also be invited to participate in the forum.
“This forum will be the first time the entire network has come together, and the taoiseach and I are looking forward to welcoming them all to Dublin for a frank and intensive exchange of ideas,” said Gilmore.