Taoiseach Enda Kenny made his final visit to the U.S. as Irish leader this week, with a two-day program of events in Chicago that unofficially kicked off on Sunday night at a U2 concert in the Windy City.
Bono saluted Kenny from the stage, telling the sold-out audience at Soldier Field, “The chieftain of our country is here tonight…we’d like to honor our graceful leader.”
According to a report in The Irish Times, Kenny and Bono met backstage before the concert where the U2 frontman presented the outgoing taoiseach with a gift, a vinyl issuance of U2’s Joshua Tree album with the inscription, “To the Boss, Bono.”
Kenny had a number of engagements in Chicago, including meetings with the city’s Council on Global Affairs with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a meeting with clients of the Irish IDA, and a reception with the Irish American community.
He also conducted a number of meetings with Enterprise Ireland clients, was guest at a Tourism Ireland trade lunch, and met with relatives of Michael Collins for a ceremonial handover of artifacts.
Kenny was asked by the media about one of the recent London terrorists having spent time in Dublin.
“Clearly … there are a small number of people in Ireland who are being monitored and observed in respect of radicalization and matters relevant to that,” he said at the Council of Global Affairs. “My understanding is that this individual was not a member of that small group.”
During his speech to the group, Kenny said that successful integration of all into their chosen societies is a must in order to prevent future terrorist attacks.
“If you leave people in ghettos … and ignore them for 20 years or more, it’s difficult to accept that they will turn out as model citizens,” Kenny said.
He also alluded to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, without mentioning Trump by name.
He quoted Ernest Hemingway’s characterization of Paris as a “moveable feast.” “He was right because Paris is moveable. But Paris is not removable — neither for the planet, nor for those of us who call this planet home,” the taoiseach added.