Ireland’s prime minister Enda Kenny, in town to give a commencement speech at Boston College Monday, visited the Boston Marathon bombing memorial site in Copley Square with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis on Sunday to pay his respects.
During his visit, Kenny added his own token to the memorial: a bouquet of orange and white roses laced with green fauna — the colors of Ireland’s flag — tied together with ribbon of the same colors, on behalf of his home country.
“I wanted to come to this square today to show solidarity with the people of Boston,’’ Kenny said, according to a statement from Boston police. “It’s a privilege on behalf of the people of Ireland to lay flowers at the scene.’’
Kenny’s visit comes three days after Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and other political officials met with Kenny in Ireland to discuss expanding opportunities for economic development and job creation between Massachusetts and Ireland.
Kenny has also been at the center of controversy this month, as Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese, said he would not attend Boston College’s commencement because Kenny, who will deliver the keynote address, supports controversial abortion-rights legislation in Ireland. By tradition, the Boston archbishop delivers the final benediction at BC’s commencement each spring.
In a statement issued in early May, Kenny said the legislation in question retains the “general ban’’ on abortion in Ireland, but also clarifies when doctors can “intervene where a woman’s life is at risk.’’
Boston College officials have said although they regret O’Malley will not attend this year, they would not rescind Kenny’s invitation to speak.