Taoiseach Enda Kenny will travel to the US today for a series of high-profile 1916 commemoration events designed to place fresh focus on how the Easter Rising affected Irish people on the other side of the Atlantic.
Mr Kenny will fly to Washington DC this morning for a two-day visit which is also expected to involve backroom discussions about a potential visit to Ireland by US vice-president Joe Biden next month.
The events — which were organised last September — have been scheduled to honour and remember those who took part in the Easter Rising 100 years ago.
However, they are also expected to see Mr Kenny raise issues central to Irish people on both sides of the Atlantic, including US immigration and threats to multi-national jobs posed by the imminent US elections.
The Taoiseach will this evening attend the opening night of the ‘Ireland 100’ festival in the Kennedy Center, which will feature an array of Irish traditional music and dancing by leading tenors, sopranos and the US national symphony orchestra.
This event, which begins at 1am Irish time tonight, will also be attended by US vice-president Joe Biden, who has made no secret of his family’s links to Ireland and is rumoured to be considering a visit to this country next month.
Tomorrow, Mr Kenny will tour the Rising records held at the US Congress library on what took place 100 years ago before attending a specially organised tour of the heralded Newseum newspaper museum on how these events were reported.
He will then travel to Capitol Hill to plant an Irish oak tree to commemorate the Easter Rising, a move considered a special honour in the US, before attending a House of Representatives debate on the adoption of a resolution to remember the Irish rebellion.
Mr Kenny’s visit has been seen by some as potentially his last journey to the US amid ongoing discussion about how long his second term in office will last.
However, despite having just one seat more than was required to form a minority government and ongoing rumours that he may step down within a year, the Taoiseach has that insisted he will serve his full term in office.
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