O Cuiv unveils De Valera plaque in New York

Government Minister Eamon O Cuiv will today unveil a plaque in the New York church where his grandfather, Eamon de Valera, was baptised more than a century ago.

Government Minister Eamon O Cuiv will today unveil a plaque in the New York church where his grandfather, Eamon de Valera, was baptised more than a century ago.

The former president and Taoiseach was christened in St Agnes’ Church near Grand Central Station in Manhattan in December 1887.

The building was nearly destroyed in a fire in 1992 but its baptismal font and entire stock of birth records survived.

New York-born de Valera stayed in contact with the Manhattan parish throughout his life.

Unveiling the plaque to his grandfather, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Mr O Cuiv said today: “It is an honour for me and my family that this historic church in the centre of New York has chosen to pay tribute to my grandfather.”

The minister is in New York as part of an official three-state visit to the US.

The itinerary included a visit to Portland in Maine where the Galway TD opened the Maine Irish Heritage Centre and was awarded the keys of the city by Mayor Edward Suslovic.

Mr O Cuiv also attended the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Mayo County Association of Boston.

He followed in the footsteps of de Valera who visited Boston as Irish president in 1919 to seek support for Irish independence and addressed 60,000 people in Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox baseball team.

Mr O Cuiv also officiated at the Catholic Memorial High School in Boston where the Christian Brothers teach Irish as a regular curriculum subject.

During his US trip, Mr O Cuiv will brief representatives of Irish communities on issues such as immigration reform and his new role as chairman of the Government’s Irish Famine Commemoration Committee.

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