Kenny plagiarism claim denied

 

The Government has denied Taoiseach Enda Kenny plagiarised elements of Barack Obama’s famous victory speech as he introduced the US president to tens of thousands of people in Dublin.

Mr Kenny’s rousing address in College Green last night sparked applause and cheers from the crowd but one sentence drew striking similarities to Mr Obama’s 2008 speech at Grant Park in Chicago.

Mr Kenny said this evening the speech was a "tribute" to Mr Obama.

"I have his speech hanging in my office and because he was here, one of the best orators in the world, I used it to honour him. I substituted "Ireland" instead of "America." It was a tribute to him rather than anything else," he said.

Earlier, a Government spokeswoman said Mr Kenny merely echoed the sentiments expressed in the now world-famous speech to make it relevant for an Irish audience.

“I think what the Taoiseach was doing was drawing on a very well-known speech by Barack Obama and just putting it into an Irish context and an Irish setting,” she said. “There was no plagiarism, he was just drawing on it.”

Mr Kenny’s address was peppered by spontaneous applause from an emotional crowd when he talked of how the president had come home to Ireland and the strong ties between the two countries.

Mr Obama and his wife Michelle warmly applauded the seven-minute speech, which included the a remarkably similar introduction to the inspirational one that Mr Obama himself used on the momentous November night three years ago. There were also a number of strikingly familiar passages throughout Mr Kenny's speech.

Mr Kenny said last night: “If there’s anyone out there who still doubts that Ireland is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our ancestors is alive in our time; who still questions our capacity to restore ourselves, to reinvent ourselves and to prosper, well today is your answer.”

Mr Obama in 2008 said: “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

Mr Kenny’s rousingly delivered introduction also referred to Mr Obama’s Irish ancestry and drew on the Queen’s historic state visit to Ireland last week.

Below is Taoiseach Enda Kenny's speech at College Green last night:

Below is President Barack Obama's speech at Grant Park in Chicago in 2008: