Cork has found a new political son in Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, and Simon Coveney had better watch out.
After suffering defeat in the recent Fine Gael leadership contest, Mr Coveney was yesterday confronted with a new threat, one which could steal his Cork South Central Dáil seat.
Mr Trudeau, who was in Dublin with his wife and son on an official visit, was told of his Irish links which have been traced back 10 generations to the 1660s.
Mr Trudeau was shocked and delighted to learn of his Cork heritage, which prompted him to joke that he may now run against the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who joined him at the Epic centre yesterday.
Experts have traced Mr Trudeau’s relatives back to Bandon, Co Cork, and Mr Coveney informed him that this is “the best place to come from”. The Canadian leader then joked: “You better hope that I don’t run against you.”
Mr Coveney quickly admitted that this would not be a contest he would like to enter, saying: “Don’t worry, I have already experienced running against somebody you can’t beat.”
Both men then agreed to stay on their own side of the Atlantic at least when it comes to their politics.
Experts at the Irish Family History Centre uncovered the Irish link on Mr Trudeau’s mother side, revealing he is a direct descendant of the Bernard family from Cork.
1 in 10 Canadians claim some Irish ancestry – including my family. All part of the story of Irish emigration on display at @EPICIrelandCHQ. pic.twitter.com/INgHC7lZml— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 4, 2017
Mr Trudeau was related to Arthur Bernard, who was High Sheriff of Cork in 1697 and MP for Bandon from 1713-14.
The prime minister’s great (x6) grandfather Francis Bernard received a degree from Trinity in 1729 before moving to London. However, yesterday the politician was told that it took Mr Bernard seven years to complete.
“That must be a family tradition,” Mr Trudeau joked.
Mr Trudeau met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Farmleigh House yesterday morning where they discussed Brexit, the environment, the CETA trade agreement, and gender equality in politics.
After achieving a 50/50 gender split in his own Cabinet, Mr Trudeau gave the Taoiseach advise on how to encourage more women into politics.
He also met President Michael D Higgins, before attending an official dinner in Dublin Castle last night.
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