30 million views and counting: Enda Kenny’s St Patrick’s speech goes viral

Taoiseach’s comments seen as veiled criticism of Trump’s immigration policies

An Taoiseach addresses the White House as part of an official visit for St Patrick's Day. Video: The White House

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s speech about the value of immigration in front of US president Donald Trump has gone viral and has been viewed more than 30 million times.

Mr Kenny’s address, which he delivered at a St Patrick’s Day event on Capitol Hill last Thursday, made no reference to Mr Trump’s policies.

However, it was interpreted in sections of the US and UK media as a thinly veiled criticism of Mr Trump’s plans to ban immigration from certain Muslim countries and to build a wall along the Mexican border.

A video of a section of the speech was posted on the Channel 4 Facebook page on the morning of St Patrick’s Day and has been widely praised both on the site and elsewhere.

It has been viewed more than 28 million times and has been shared more than 400,000 times including by the Taoiseach himself who shared it on his Facebook page three hours after it was posted.

In addition it has been viewed 2.9 million times on the Facebook page of moveon.org, 1.4 million times on CNN, 1,158,000 on the Occupy Democrats Facebook page and 235,000 on the USAToday website.

Occupy Democrats showcased the video on their Facebook page with the headline “Irish PM SCHOOLS Trump: ‘St Patrick Was An Immigrant’ Right to Trump’s face!”

The New York Times reported the speech under the headline: “Irish Premier Uses St Patrick’s Day Ritual to Lecture Trump on Immigration.”

In his speech Mr Kenny said St Patrick was an immigrant and was, in many ways, the patron saint of immigrants along with being the patron saint of Ireland.

“Ireland came to America because – deprived of liberty, opportunity, safety and even food itself – we believed,” he told the crowd.

“Four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore. We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America. We came and became Americans.”