The Taoiseach Enda Kenny used the Global Economic Forum at Dublin Castle at the weekend to endorse Derry’s City of Culture year publicly.
He outlined his support for the project in his closing speech to the event, which was attended by Bill Clinton, Declan Kelly and Loretta Glucksman of the American Ireland Fund.
Earlier, Mr Kenny met with business and cultural leaders from all over the island and urged them to get involved in the Derry project.
He was guest of honour at a City of Culture Corporate Engagement evening organized by Culture Company and Grafton Recruitment in central Dublin.
Mr Kenny said he believed the Irish diaspora would also be very supportive of the Derry project.
“Derry will carry the flame all around the world for culture and people will want to come to Ireland for 2013,” he asserted.
“City of Culture will provide a great opportunity for those people with roots here to come back and revisit their heritage during 2013.
“It will be an event that people will still be talking about in 2023 and 2033 when they are sitting in traffic jams on the Brooklyn Bridge!”
Mr Kenny revealed that he had close links to the North West, through his mother who was from Malin Head.
“I want to be a part of it, and I assure you that the arts organizations in the South will also support City of Culture fully. I look forward to going to Derry for some of the events in 2013 and will do what I can to endorse it, in any way I can.”
Shona McCarthy, Culture Company CEO, said the Dublin event had allowed corporate leaders and cultural stakeholders from all over Ireland to learn more about City of Culture. And she was delighted at their universal backing for the project.
“We believe this event marks the start of new artistic and business connections across Ireland.
“ We are convinced that the City of Culture project will prove to be an all-island celebration of our rich cultural heritage.