Monday, May 23, 2011

Obama Meets With Kenny At Farmleigh

President says he is "inspired" by Northern Ireland peace...
President Obama had a private meeting with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Farmleigh House in Dublin, the official state guest house.

After their meeting, Obama and Kenny met with the press, sitting at in identical chairs separated by a small table with two bottles of water.

Both leaders spoke of their private meeting, which included a discussion of Ireland's relationship with the states, the Queen's recent visit to Ireland, and President Obama's El Paso speech on immigration, among other items.

"The Irish people have been waiting for this visit," Kenny told President Obama.

"It is heartwarming to be here. People even arranged for the sun to come out shortly after I arrived," President Obama said, referring to the blustery wind and rain that had been going on since his arrival earlier in the day.

Citing the country's work on peace, security and human rights, President Obama said "Ireland punches above its weight."

"All of that makes a huge difference around the world," he said.

"I wanted to just express to the Irish people ... how inspired we have been by the progress that has been made in Northern Ireland," President Obama said. "It speaks to the possibilities of peace and people and longstanding struggles being able to reimagine their relationships."

The recent visit by the HRH Queen Elizabeth II, who was in Dublin three days ago, "sends a signal...to the world," President Obama said.

"To all those who have been working tirelessly to bring peace about peace in Northern Ireland, to those willing to take those risks, we are grateful to them," Obama said.

Earlier, Kenny had presented the President with a three volume set of myths and legends of Hawaii, for daughters Sasha and Malia.

"It just confirms if you need someone to do good writing, you hire an Irishman," President Obama joked.

An earlier joke from Kenny: "The next time he comes back he's going to bring his golf clubs."

The full transcript IS HERE.

*Reuters photos