Kenny has forgotten Ulster Presbyterians

Dear Sir,

Much praise has been given, and rightly so, to the speech by Enda Kenny on St Patrick’s Day in Washington.

Knowing that the media can only broadcast sound bites, I have checked this against the Government Website. It is unfortunate that An Taoiseach omitted some salient facts, which distort the contribution made by our forefathers from this island to the development of the United States.

Kenny said “Four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore”. Given that the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886 this suggests that he was only making reference to the ‘Familne Irish’.

It was during the life of George Washington, to whom he referred, that some 200,000 citizens left these shores for America. They left for the same reasons –  “because deprived of liberty, opportunity, safety and even food itself”. The vast bulk of these citizens who left Ireland in the eighteenth century were Ulster Presbyterians.

Seventeen Presidents can trace their ancestry to the Presbyterians of Ulster origin, who emigrated to the Americas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

It is unfortunate that the migration of Ulster Presbyterians in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries appear to have been left out of what was otherwise an excellent speech.

Yours etc.

Brian Kennaway

Presbyterian Minister (Retired)

This letter appeared in the Belfast Telegraph on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 and the Irish News on Thursday 23rd March 2017