Enda Kenny gave former speaker Ryan better gift than Donald Trump
Diplomatic presents given to mark St Patrick’s Day
US president Donald Trump with former taoiseach Enda Kenny at a St Patrick’s Day reception in the White House in Washington in 2017. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Enda Kenny did not appear to like US president Donald Trump as much as he liked House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan, at least if the value of the gifts he gave to the pair on his last visit to the US as taoiseach are anything to go by.
The US government this week published a long list of the diplomatic gifts presented to Mr Trump, Mr Ryan and other government figures in 2017.
According to the filing, the crystal bowl Mr Kenny given to Mr Trump at a green-tinged ceremony in the White House was valued at $3,100 (about €2,700) – not including the cost of the clump of shamrock it contained.
Mr Ryan, meanwhile, was given a statue of a Famine ship with passengers disembarking, an object the US authorities have estimated cost $4,000 (about €3,500).
As with the vast majority of the presents given to Mr Trump, the crystal bowl ended up being handed over to the national archives for storage, while Mr Ryan’s Famine ship has had a more public afterlife, being put on display in Capitol Hill.
Learning that his present was of significantly lesser value than the speaker’s gift, may give the famously grudge-bearing US president another reason to view Mr Kenny’s last visit to the US as taoiseach with something less than fondness.
Mr Kenny delivered a speech which was widely interpreted as a thinly veiled criticism of the US administration’s plans to ban immigration from certain Muslim countries and to build a wall along the Mexican border. He also reminded Mr Trump that St Patrick was the patron saint of immigrants.