[caption id="attachment_80177" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Taoiseach Enda Kenny, along with Tanaiste Joan Burton, and President Michael D. and Mrs. Higgins, speaking to descendants of 1916 leader Thomas Kent in County Cork last week. Kent (Tomás Ceannt in Irish) was executed following a gunfight with the Royal Irish Constabulary just days after the Easter Rising. He was given a state funeral 99 years after his death and Mr. Kenny delivered the graveside oration. RollingNews.ie.[/caption]
By Ray O’Hanlon
This week and next, Ireland’s political leaders will be journeying to New York for a series of engagements that will include participation in the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in what is its 70th anniversary year.
First to arrive will be Taoiseach Enda Kenny who will be in New York and Connecticut this Thursday and Friday, September 24 and 25.
On Thursday, Mr. Kenny will be at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut where he will receive an honorary degree bestowed on him by the university’s president, Dr. John Lahey.
Mr. Kenny’s time in New York will coincide with the visit to the city of Pope Francis.
At the beginning of next week, President Michael D. Higgins will be in the city and will be delivering, on Monday evening, the New York University Law School Annual Emile Noël Lecture on The State of the (European) Union.
The president’s lecture will is specifically entitled “The European Union - Towards a Discourse of Renewal and Hope.”
Also next week, Irish Foreign Minister, Charlie Flanagan, will be in New York for a series of engagements.
Joining the Irish political throng in the Big Apple will be Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.
Adams will be taking part in the annual Clinton Global Initiative conference organized by former president Bill Clinton.
The CGI now annually coincides with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.
Mr. Adams will speak at a re-enactment - at the Fenian Plot in Calvary Cemetery, Queens - on Saturday morning of Padraig Pearse’s oration at the graveside of O’Donovan Rossa.
On Friday evening, Mr. Adams will be speaking at the Irish Echo’s annual Labor Awards event in Manhattan.
The week, of course, will be dominated by the first ever visit to the United States by Pope Francis.
The pope arrives in Washington tomorrow and will be in New York Thursday and Friday before departing for Philadelphia on Saturday.
The pope’s first engagement in New York will be a prayer service Thursday evening in that most Irish of New York historical settings - St. Patrick's Cathedral.