Irish officials in talks on scholarship cut


TAOISEACH:TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny has said Irish officials in the Embassy in the US were in contact with the authorities there about the recent decision by the US state department to abolish funding for the Mitchell Scholarships,

“The Mitchell Scholarship is a valuable programme,” he said, speaking after a civic reception at Midleton Town Hall, Co Cork, on his way to the Ireland Funds gala dinner at Ballymaloe House.

“I’ve met with members of the Mitchell Scholarship teams over the years and I’ve found them very interesting, very invigorated, excited young people about the programme.

“As I understand it the intention is to withdraw funding effective from September 2013. I regard it as a valuable programme.

“Ireland did contribute to this in setting it up in the beginning and we’ll see how the discussions go between the Irish officials and the Americans.”

The Taoiseach said he was looking forward to meeting former president Bill Clinton again. “He’s a man who has given of his time and generosity to this country on so many occasions. It’s a great occasion for Castlemartyr and for Ballymaloe and for the Ireland Funds.”

“I have to say that the ambition of raising over $100 million in less than a year was extraordinary and that’s been increased with a new target. So these are philanthropists of a very generous nature and they know that those funds have been put to very good effect.

“I often make the point about Pieta House and Joan Freeman dealing with young people who might have a tendency to self-harm. Rather than just being a charity they are an investment in the future quality of lives of people.

“Bill Clinton, through his work and through the work of his wife and the American governments have ensured that young people in Northern Ireland can be born and raised and live and die in peace and that’s a great legacy to leave behind.”