Rev. Jesse Jackson last month met with Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Office of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister’s Office) in Leinster House. Rev. Jackson met with the Prime Minister for a wide ranging discussion on both domestic and international affairs. They discussed the reconciliation efforts in Northern Ireland, following on Rev. Jackson’s visit to Belfast and Derry; and the plight of Ireland’s Traveller’s community–indigenous people who face discrimination in all aspects of Ireland’s life. They also had a lengthy dialogue on international affairs, from the nuclear disaster in Japan, to Haiti and the recent events in Egypt to Libya.
“I have tremendous respect for your role in international affairs over the years,” commented Taoiseach Kenny. Prime Minister Kenny was also in Washington, D.C. last month, meeting with President Obama on St. Patrick’s Day. President Obama has a visit scheduled to Ireland in May as a part of his G-8 tours in Europe.
Rev. Jackson was also honored with the Lifetime Membership at University College Dublin’s Law Society and presented a lecture on the legacy and lessons of the global civil and human rights struggle. In Derry, he visited their Civil Rights Museum–a parallel to Selma in the US, Ireland’s home of the civil rights struggle. There too, they had their “Bloody Sunday” where British forces fired on a civil rights march, killing 13 people. In Belfast, he met with Families for Justice, seeking remedies and reparations for family members killed during the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland, and with clergy from both the Catholic and Protestant communities.