Kenny says boycotting Cardinal entitled to his opinion
Taoiseach to deliver commencement address in Boston College
Taoiseach Enda Kenny vists a memorial in Copley Square near the finish line of the Boston Marathon to lay flowers with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. Photograph: Dominick Reuter/Reuters
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Cardinal Seán O’Malley was entitled to his opinion over his decision to boycott his attendance at Boston College’s commencement ceremony today because the Government was seeking to pass abortion legislation.
Mr Kenny’s three-day visit to Boston to give the keynote address at Boston College’s commencement ceremony today has stirred controversy in the city over the cardinal’s decision to decline an invite to the event.
As archbishop of Boston, the cardinal traditionally attends the ceremony but has refused over Mr Kenny’s appearance to deliver the speech and receive an honorary degree because he was “aggressively promoting abortion legislation”.
“Boston College issued these invitations and people are entitled to either accept or not to accept,” the Taoiseach said.
He would not comment on whether it was appropriate for the cardinal to become involved in the Irish national debate over the proposed abortion legislation.
“People are perfectly entitled to their opinions,” he told reporters after laying flowers at a memorial to the victims of last month’s Boston bombings.
The Taoiseach said it was a “unique honour” to be asked to speak at the ceremony for a college celebrating its 150th anniversary, 50 years after President John F Kennedy gave the centennial commencement address at the Jesuit college.
Boston police commissioner Ed Davis accompanied the Taoiseach when he laid flowers at the memorial in Copley Square in the Back Bay area, several hundred yards from the sites of the two blasts that killed three people and injured more than 200 last month.
The Taoiseach said he wanted to visit the memorial “to show our solidarity with the people of Boston and the people of the United States”. Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged over the April 15th blasts and a second suspect, his brother Tamerlan, was killed in a gunfight with police four days later.
Anti-abortion groups plan to protest at today’s Boston College ceremony over the college’s invitation to Mr Kenny to deliver the keynote address.