Justin Trudeau pays tribute to Enda Kenny's leadership during difficult years for Ireland

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is holding a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal this evening, writes Daniel McConnell in Montreal.

Mr Kenny and Mr Trudeau greeted each other warmly ahead of a major business lunch today.

Mr Trudeau, wearing odd Star Wars socks to mark 'May the 4th be With You Day', said it was his great pleasure to meet Mr Kenny and paid tribute to his leadership of Ireland during some difficult years.

Justin Trudeau pays tribute to Enda Kenny's leadership during difficult years for Ireland

The two leaders are due to address the media in a press conference shortly.

Mr Kenny began his day with an event at the school of Irish Studies at Concordia University and paid a warm tribute to the academics and students for their work in telling Ireland's story with a voice of authority at a time of "fake news".

In his remarks, Mr Kenny spoke of the Irish in the past century who travelled to Canada and changed their names for fear of being recognised as Irish by the British.

Irish emigrants who moved to Canada were forced to adopt “French sounding names” so as to avoid detection by the British, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Speaking at an early morning event in Montreal, Mr Kenny said the Irish story of emigration is “intrinsic” in the development of Canada. He said it is “extraordinary” that 15% of Canadians have Irish roots.

“Whether it’s Australia or New Zealand, Canada, Africa, US or Europe or South America or wherever - the Irish are there. For reasons of travel, of adventure, of forced economic immigration, of deprivation, of oppression, of hunger or whatever,” Mr Kenny said.

“There’s a real story to tell. And Canada is an essential part of that story. Since they came here in 1600 first. Some changed their name to French sounding names, so they wouldn’t be recognised by the British as being Irish. In any event, they’re still here,” he added.


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