State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry’s groundbreaking debut as the first woman, first Haitian-American and first Dorchester resident to host the storied St. Patrick’s Day breakfast on Sunday is apparently drawing some international attention.
Forry announced today that Enda Kenny, Ireland’s prime minister, or taoiseach, has agreed to attend the ribald political roast in South Boston.
The visit by a sitting head of state is a coup for Dorcena Forry, who has promised to raise the profile of a breakfast that in recent years seemed to have lost some of its star power.
“I am honored that Taoiseach Kenny will join us for this year’s breakfast,” Forry said in a statement. “I have had the pleasure of meeting the Taoiseach during his previous visits to Boston. His attendance at the breakfast is a wonderful affirmation of the deep bonds of friendship between Boston and Ireland.”
Forry credited Breandán Ó Caollaí, the consul general of Ireland in Boston, for helping to arrange Kenny’s visit.
Ó Caollaí said in an interview that a Forry representative reached out to the consul in hopes of arranging the visit. He said an Irish finance minister went to the breakfast in 2008, but this will be the first time a prime minister has attended. “First and foremost, it’s a Boston Irish-American event, and he’s looking forward to it,” Ó Caollaí said.
Kenny does not plan to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston, which has been the subject of controversy over its ban on openly gay marchers. But he does have some other local stops planned.
The prime minister is scheduled to visit the The Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton, where he will meet with representatives of the Irish community, including some who work on behalf of undocumented Irish immigrants, Ó Caollaí said. Kenny also plans to meet business leaders at the consul office in Boston and to tour the USS Constitution in Charlestown.
Boston, of course, isn’t the only reason for the prime minister’s journey to the United States. President Obama is scheduled to meet Kenny in the Oval Office on Friday, after Vice President Biden hosts him for breakfast, according to the White House. On Friday evening, at a St. Patrick’s Day reception at the White House, Obama and Kenny will also participate in a Shamrock ceremony that was started by President Truman.