Brian Burns, a son of Joe Kennedy’s closest political advisor and a leading Irish American philanthropist, will be Donald Trump’s choice as Ambassador to Ireland New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman has tweeted.
Burns’ name was first reported by IrishCentral as the likely choice earlier this month.
Burns and his wife Eileen have close personal ties to Trump and were at Mar-a-lago, in Palm Beach, FL, for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. They were early supporters of the billionaire who counts them as close friends.
Maggie Haberman is a New York Times political correspondent and CNN analyst. She tweeted:
In my minor ambassador obsession, Trump tells me he intends to make Brian Burns, son of Joe Kennedy adviser, the ambassador to Ireland— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) December 30, 2016
The 80-year-old Burns is a nationally regarded businessman, attorney and philanthropist. He is the chairman of BF Enterprises Inc., a publicly owned real estate holding and development company.
He was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2013 along with Vice President Joe Biden. In that speech he citedthe late Don Keough beloved former Coca-Cola President and leading Irish American philanthropist as his greatest influence.
He is widely regarded as the man who put Irish art on the map. At a time when the obsession was with literature and Irish writers, Burns quietly gathered the greatest collection of private art, now mostly at the Burns Library in Boston College and revived the entire genre.
A Massachusetts native, he is the fifth of seven children born to John J. Burns and his wife, Alice. Burns traces his roots to County Kerry and is a graduate of The College of the Holy Cross. He also graduated from Harvard at the age 23. Burns and wife Eileen have eight children and fiiteen grandchildren.
He holds some of the most famous Jack Yeats paintings, as well as paintings by Sean Russell and other leading artists.
He was the leading fundraiser behind the effort to restore the world-famous Marsh’s Library, at St. Patrick’s Close in Dublin, the oldest public library in Ireland. He also founded an American Law Library at University College Cork.
Additionally, Burns has established or donated significantly to many cultural and scholastic institutions. In 1986 he founded The Honorable John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College in memory of his father, who was a prolific lawyer and Joseph P. Kennedy’s attorney and closest advisor.
Works from his renowned personal collection of Irish art have been exhibited at Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Yale Center of British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, and the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona.
He was a principal benefactor of the first Irish Famine memorial in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which was dedicated in July 1997 by former Irish President Mary Robinson. In 2012 he donated a key Famine-era painting from his collection to Quinnipiac University’s Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, in Connecticut.