Irish eyes suddenly stop smiling as Mike Pence endorses Boris Johnson

The top stories from Irish Times Abroad this week

US vice president Mike Pence (L) beside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (R) after making a press statement after their talks at Famleigh House in Phoenix Park, Dublin this week. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty

This week US vice president Mike Pence caused quite a reaction on his visit to Ireland, although probably not the one he intended. Irish Times'political colour writer Miriam Lord's article on his visit has gained attention worldwide. She described Pence's actions at the start of the week as: "He couldn't praise Ireland enough on Tuesday – 'deeply humbled' and 'honoured' to be going to the hometown of his mother's grandmother and so on" to then delivering a very strong endorsement of British prime minister Boris Johnson and Brexit: "No room left for doubt. As Pence read from the autocue and Irish eyes definitely stopped smiling, it was clear he was channelling His Master's Voice. Trump is a fan of Brexit and of Boris." Pence's intervention was unexpected to say the least.

Staying with the US, writer Mary Beth Keane's article on life growing up as the first-born child of Irish immigrants in New York was the most read in Abroad this week. "I am so sick of Irish-Americans wishing for an old country they've heard about in stories," she says. "And as it turns out, I like the real Ireland better than the fairy tale, problems and all." Back in Ireland, new Central Statistics Office figures show the number of Irish people emigrating from Ireland has overtaken the number of people returning again. As Public Affairs editor Simon Carswell writes, any suggestion the recent "Brexiles" trend of UK nationals moving to Ireland to remain EU citizens post-Brexit would continue has been knocked on the head by the latest population statistics – "Solid economy and prospect of job not enough to attract more Irish home".

The list of the world's most and least liveable cities for 2019 was revealed this week. Vienna topped the list for a second year, and climate change caused a shift in many cities scores. Also in our top most read list this week is an article from Siobhán McKenna in London, who shared what life has been like for her and her family since the Brexit vote in 2016. "My seven-year-old daughter asked me recently why the Brexit people don't like us and want us to leave," she wrote. "How do I answer that?" Also popular was former BBC One executive Helen O'Rahilly piece sharing her list of all the things she loves about being back in Ireland. "Coming back to Ireland after 30 years in London filled me with dread," she says. "But how much I have missed this place, this island, my homeland." Sharing her experiences of working in New York, Drogheda documentary maker Jenny McQuaile explains why she is determined to fight "society's dangerous beauty standards". She made a film for "anyone who has ever looked in the mirror and felt they're not good enough".

Regular Abroad contributor Philip Lynch writes about making his first return to Ireland from Australia in more than a decade: "The dragonflies have shrunk, the tractors have grown."


Finally, in our Extraordinary Emigrants section this week we have a story about the Mayo woman who became Italy's favourite operatic diva, and the grandson of an Irish nationalist who became "Boy Mayor of New York".

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