European of the Year

Noelle O Connell, executive director of EM Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D., Enda Kenny T.D., and Maurice Pratt, chairman of EM Ireland. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

By Dave Lewis, Assistant Editor
September / October 2018

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. was named European of the Year by European Movement Ireland (EM Ireland) at an event sponsored by Uniphar in Dublin on June 11.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in presenting the award, reflected on the state of the nation when Enda Kenny became Taoiseach in 2011, when the G.D.P. had plummeted, unemployment had soared, and Ireland’s international reputation was in tatters.

“Under his patient and determined leadership, he steered the country on a path to regain what was lost.

“He had to fight for our national interests, but guiding his work at all times was his genuine appreciation of and commitment to Europe,” Varadkar said.

The former Taoiseach, who left office in 2017, has been an outspoken advocate for strengthening Ireland’s ties with the European Union, especially in light of the fact that its nearest neighbor, Britain, has broken away from the Union. Speaking at the event, Maurice Pratt, Chairman of EM Ireland and of Uniphar, said: “In many ways, Enda Kenny epitomizes EM Ireland’s mission statement to encourage active Irish engagement at all levels of our European relationship.”

In accepting the award, Kenny credited the E.U., which Ireland joined in 1973, with bringing Ireland into the modern day “The E.U. transformed our country, from being backward, introverted, and protectionist to outward-looking, export-oriented, with a globally confident people,” he said. ♦  Dave Lewis 

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