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Pool 3b, FOI lunch continued
Louise Radnofsky • Wall Street Journal
March 16, 2017: 01:36 PM


Mr Kenny said that the Irish cherished the access they had to US officials and continued the jocular spirit by congratulating Mr. Trump on his election: "you beat them all!" He recalled his own experience of tough-going elections and talked about the Irish economic recovery from a "torrid time" of high unemployment and an immigration "hemorrhaging" and bragged that he had been accused of blocking up the roads by the number of people returning to work.

Then over what was a fifteen minute speech in all, he hit his political points. He described a "two way conduit" between the US, and Ireland and the EU, something that was "to the mutual benefit of our people" and that in any revised trade agenda he was confident that Europe could continue to boost job creation in the US.

He said the Irish had made clear to Great Britain that an open border between the north and the south of the island was crucial to maintaining peace. (On Northern Ireland, he also thanked the US for its contributions to the peace process, pointed out Mr Adams and Mr Paisley and Pete King, and said that having an envoy between the US and Northern Ireland had been important.)

Mr Kenny called for an expansion of E3 visas to the Irish and made an extended and emotional pitch for comprehensive immigration reform, of which he hoped Irish people in the US would be a part.

Mr Kenny reminded attendees that Mike Pence's grandfather had come through Ellis Island; cited contributions to American life and military battles by presidents and figures of Irish descent such as Henry Ford and said he wanted to see the issue of people currently in the US without authorization "sorted.. It would remove a burden for so many people," he said. This got applause from Democrats in the room; few others.

Mr Kenny referred to the words of the American national anthem, saying that people in the US were "as brave as ever but perhaps not as free" and that all people wanted "was the opportunity to be free." He called on the administration to work with Democrats and Republicans to get it done and said that he knew that a return to "open immigration" was not possible but a solution "for people who are here" was.

By the end he was speaking directly to Mr Trump, telling him that success on this regard would "make America great." Mr Trump gave a small smile.

Mr. Kenny concluded by mentioning the need to save the planet, then stopped at 12.31, telling the guests, "We have to work to do, let's eat."

((Poo is now waiting outside the capital for guests to emerge and return to the White House. BREAKING: it's cold.))



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