Mr Kenny made the accusation during lively exchanges in the Dail when the Socialist party TD said the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and presidents of the European Commission and European Council had supported assassination. “Is it only justified if the target is a reactionary, anti-democratic, anti-human rights obscurantist like bin Laden?” he asked.
Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin and independents Finian McGrath and John Halligan called on Mr Kenny to withdraw his comments and the Taoiseach said he did not believe Mr O’Higgins was a bin Laden supporter.
“I know you are a good Christian man who has your job to do in here from a political point of view,” he said. “Many of his (bin Laden’s) victims in the twin towers in New York were of Irish descent or directly Irish."
Mr Kenny was this evening flying to the United States for a series of meetings with business leaders from Irish and American companies.
Mr Kenny, who this morning attended the annual 1916 commemoration ceremonies with President Mary McAleese, was flying out for meetings on Wall Street. The trip was planned before the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
He said that he intended to bring a positive message about Ireland to New York, but he was also mindful that this is a poignant moment to visit and an emotional time for her citizens as memories of September 11 are re-awakened.
“During my visit I will be reflecting on those terrible losses on 9/11, including those Irish people and members of the Irish American community who were lost on that day,” he said.