Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness joined a crowd of about 80 for the annual St Patrick’s visit to the White House. President Obama spoke of his upcoming trip to Ireland.
“I’m very much looking forward to visiting Northern Ireland for the G8 summit this June.”
Representatives from the worlds 8 wealthiest countries will be represented at the summit in the Fermanagh lakelands. President Obama went on to talk about the United States’s growing bond with Ireland.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome back Taoiseach Kenny to the Oval Office, to the White House,” Obama said. “Obviously, we cherish this opportunity.. to reaffirm the incredible bond between the United States and Ireland.”
“We have an incredibly strong partnership on economic issues, security issues. We’re seeing progress in the Irish economy. That’s good for the U.S. economy.”
The President added, “This year, it also gave us an excuse to spread out St. Patrick’s Day for a couple extra days, which is always good.”
Obama went on to address the situation in Northern Ireland and affirmed that the US continues, “to see progress coming out of the Good Friday Agreement..but we also have to recognize that there’s a lot more work to be done before there’s true unity of effort in that country."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also used his time to address the the countries status, “I want you all to understand that this a time of great fragility in Northern Ireland.”
Kenny affirmed government's readiness to end political ambiguity.
“It’s a time for clear political leadership. And we as a government in the Republic together with the Executive, First and Deputy First Minister, the British government and all the parties want this to succeed.”