Kenny admits Lenin error
THE TAOISEACH has admitted he made a mistake in his oration at the annual Béal na Blá commemoration when he said Michael Collins brought Vladimir Lenin to Ireland.
In his address last Sunday, Enda Kenny described Collins as an “outstanding organiser who brought Lenin himself to Ireland to see how the National Loan worked”.
The “republican loan” or “Dáil bonds” scheme was launched in 1919, two years after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.
A spokesman for Mr Kenny yesterday said an error had survived the speech drafting process.
“The script contained an inaccurate reference which was not picked up in advance. It mistakenly stated Lenin came to Ireland but should have stated it brought Lenin’s attention to Ireland to see how the National Loan worked.”
Mr Kenny has previously been described as the “chief architect” of all his speeches.
Some users of social media sites highlighted the inaccuracy at the beginning of this week. Irish Times columnist Vincent Browne noted it in his column in yesterday’s newspaper, saying Mr Kenny had made an “extraordinary claim” since Lenin was never in Ireland.
An academic expert on Lenin, Limerick-born Dr James Ryan, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Warwick in England, confirmed that the leader of the Soviet Union wrote about Ireland but never visited. “He was never in Ireland. I’m about as certain as I can be that the furthest west he got was London and when he came to power, he didn’t leave Russia,” Dr Ryan said. “Lenin wrote about Ireland quite a bit. He followed events such as the 1913 lockout and the 1916 Rising.”
However, Lenin was said to have spoken English with an Irish accent, according to James Connolly’s son Roddy Connolly, who met Lenin in Petrograd in 1920 and heard his “Rathmines” accent – perhaps as a result of a language tutor from that Dublin neighbourhood.
When Mr Kenny delivered his Dáil speech attacking the Vatican’s role in covering up clerical child sex abuse cases in July 2011, a Government spokeswoman said: “The Taoiseach is the chief architect of all his speeches, with the assistance of a number of people in his office.”