Taoiseach forced to cancel part of his St Patrick's Day events due to 'life-threatening' storm

Taoiseach forced to cancel part of his St Patrick's Day events due to 'life-threatening' storm

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been forced to drastically alter his week-long St Patrick's Day events, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith of the Irish Examiner.

It is due to an "historic and life-threatening" storm which could bring 22 inches of snow and "thunder-snow".

Despite being due to stay in Boston and nearby Rhode Island until tomorrow evening, the Department of the Taoiseach has confirmed Mr Kenny will instead travel to Washington DC 24 hours early in a bid to ensure he is not stranded and unable to meet US president Donald Trump on Thursday.

Weather experts in the US have warned that a "north-eastern" storm due to hit Washington DC, Boston and New York tonight is "historic and life-threatening" and will bring up to 22 inches of snow in some places.

Separately, authorities have in recent hours cancelled thousands of flights in the north east of the US, have asked people not to make any unnecessary journeys and are planning for power outages across cities.

In Boston, where Mr Kenny only arrived in from Philadelphia on Sunday evening, day-time temperatures have already plummeted to minus 10 celsius as locals prepare for what is expected to be a crippling white-out that could last for days.

Also due to the risk this poses to his Thursday meeting at the White House with Mr Trump, Mr Kenny has today decided to pull out of a now cancelled public forum event to mark the 100th anniversary of former president John F Kennedy's birth in May and separate events in Boston and nearby Rhode Island on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Mr Kenny has confirmed that the "priority at this stage is getting to Washington".

The Taoiseach had earlier met with Boston mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker to discuss the impact of toughening immigration laws on people from Ireland and other countries.

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