Taoiseach pays tribute to Americans’ ‘strength of connections’ with Ireland

The Taoiseach paid tribute to the “palpable strength of connections” between Ireland and America as he laid flowers at the memorial site for the victims of last month’s bombings in the city.

Wearing the Boston Strong pin on his jacket, the Taoiseach laid a green, white, and orange floral arrangement with a message of “deepest sympathy from the people of Ireland” in front of running shoes and three crosses to symbolise the three who lost their lives in the tragedy.

He praised the city’s response to the attacks, in which a further 260 people were injured, after two bombs exploded at the finishing line of the marathon. “The numbers next year for the Boston Marathon will exceed all expectations,” he said.

At the site on Copley Square the Taoiseach, accompanied by the city’s chief police commissioner, Ed Davis, greeted the small crowd who had gathered to pay their respects on a sunny Sunday morning.

Among them was Zachary Smith, 26, who was just a block away when the bombs went off, and was visiting the memorial site for the first time. He told Mr Kenny of the resilience the city has shown since the attacks and said he appreciated the support from Ireland because it always had a strong connection with Boston.

Afterwards, Mr Kenny said: “I wanted to come here today, to this square, to show solidarity with the people of Boston and the people of the United States, to wear the badge of Boston Strong and to lay flowers at the scene of the tragic bombing.

“It’s very palpable, the strength of the connections that exist between Ireland and the US and between Ireland and Boston.

“The number of people to whom I’ve spoken in the past 24 hours — particularly from the Galway region and the west of Ireland in general — continues to show that strength.”

At an event the previous night to mark the 50th anniversary of President John F Kennedy’s visit to Ireland, the Taoiseach recalled the “injection of excitement and political adrenaline that charged our country and charged our people” at the time.

He was 12 years old and recalled “the sheer excitement and enthusiasm of the visit” when “people threw all caution to the wind to be present, or somewhere near” to the president.

In a speech at the JFK presidential library, Mr Kenny said the country “looks forward to receiving the Kennedy clan” for the JFK50 celebrations in New Ross in June, for “a unique and very important occasion”.

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