Kenny woos US investors with a range of Irish gifts
Published 07/08/2016 | 02:30
Enda Kenny has been wooing US multinational business chiefs with an array of Irish-themed gifts, ranging from special sets of cuff links to a paperweight emblazoned with its own logo.
As the battle for transnational investment intensifies after the UK's Brexit vote, the Taoiseach has resorted to a series of imaginative gestures to win over some high fliers who are spearheading various companies that have invested in Ireland.
According to documents obtained by the Sunday Independent, a senior Coca Cola executive was presented with a crystal-engraved mobile phone holder.
Over the past five years, executives in various multinational operations received a number of token gifts which were clearly intended to acknowledge their importance for job creation in Ireland.
Among the high-profile multinational companies listed are Yahoo, Amazon, Intel and Microsoft.
The gift list includes a woollen scarf from Kilkenny Design, a 12cm 'coaster' and a special photo frame, both from Dublin Crystal.
Meanwhile, on the political front, Chinese premier Li Keqiang received a book series entitled Tales of Old Ireland.
The visiting Chinese delegation - representing one of the most lucrative trading markets in the world - were also presented with a bronze Children of Lir sculpture.
Among other foreign dignitaries who visited Ireland, was the Austrian president Heinz Fischer, who was given a series of books entitled A History of Ireland in 100 Objects.
The list records that President Obama, during his May 2011 visit to Ireland, was presented with a special pair of 'History of Ireland' silver cuff links. Other gifts given to the US president included a handcrafted book of poems by WB Yeats and a Bord Bia hamper of Irish foods.
And for the annual St Patrick's Day exchange of gifts this year, Mr Obama received a set of Michael Collins replica cuff links.
Sheik Khallifa, President of the United Arab Emirates, received as a gift in December 2013 an equine-themed crystal bowl to mark the huge interest in horse racing in the UAE.
Prince Albert of Monaco, on a state visit to this country, received a special set of six Waterford Crystal champagne flutes.
One of the most imaginative presentations over the period - to Queen Elizabeth in 2011 - was a limited-edition of The Sweeney Guide to the Irish Turf (1501-2001), supplied by De Burca rare books.
Among the gifts received by the Taoiseach over the past five years is a JFK bust, worth €2,000, which was donated by the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.
President Obama also presented Mr Kenny with a silkscreen print from a 'limited edition' by US artist Alex Katz in May 2011.
One of the more unusual gifts to the Taoiseach was a 'Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Laptop', which he received during a visit to Japan in 2013.
Overall, documents show that the most valuable gift received between 2011 and 2016 was a piece of handmade embroidery that was presented to Mr Kenny by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2015. It is valued at €6,800, bringing the total value of gifts received by Mr Kenny on behalf of the State since 2011 to €12,000.
All such gifts are governed by strict ethical guidelines and, according to an official statement, are currently located in the Department of the Taoiseach.