Thursday 14 December 2017

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar celebrates impact of The Ireland Funds with Prince Albert II of Monaco: 'You always have a home here'

Prince Albert II of Monaco (right) and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attend the 32nd Annual Conference Gala Dinner of The Ireland Funds at Powerscourt Hotel, Enniskerry. Photo credit: Mark Stedman/PA Wire
Prince Albert II of Monaco (right) and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attend the 32nd Annual Conference Gala Dinner of The Ireland Funds at Powerscourt Hotel, Enniskerry. Photo credit: Mark Stedman/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar celebrated the impact of The Ireland Funds with Prince Albert II of Monaco on Friday evening.

Mr Varadkar and Prince Albert joined 300 supporters from across 12 international chapters of The Ireland Funds at the Powerscourt Hotel, Co Wicklow.

The annual event celebrated the generosity of donors to projects across Ireland this year.

The gathering was the pinnacle of the four-day conference of The Ireland Funds, and included the presentation of the AWB Vincent Literary Award to Conor McPherson.

Since its establishment in 1976 by the late Dan Rooney and Sir Anthony O'Reilly, The Ireland Funds has raised over €490m ($550m) for over 3,000 organisations.

Speaking at the event, Mr Varadkar said: "As everyone here knows so well the generosity and goodwill of members in 12 countries have raised over half a billion dollars but in addition to that, it has provided a really important network for the Irish diaspora to connect right across the world. 

"In total 3,000 organisations have benefited and your record speaks for itself; 41 years of unbroken support and service to Ireland and its peoples."

Mr Varadkar also paid tribute to Prince Albert, saying:  "You are very welcome back to Ireland.

"Your late mother, Princess Grace, was immensely proud of her Irish heritage and we in turn were very proud of her and all she achieved in her iconic but all too short life.

"We greatly appreciate that you have travelled from Monaco to be with us tonight. You always have a home here."

Prior to the event, Prince Albert took in a number of locations in Co Louth and Co Wicklow, during which he opened The Princess Grace Rose Garden in St Dominick's Park, Drogheda.

The garden is named in honour of his Hollywood actress mother Grace Kelly, who visited the area in the 1960s along with his father Prince Rainier III.

Best known for her roles in Dial M For Murder and High Society, she was the Irish-American granddaughter of an emigrant from Newport, Mayo.

The Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco was opened by her husband in 1984 as a tribute to her roots.

Prince Albert also visited a bio-diversity conference and the Highlanes Gallery where he viewed a number of photographs of the State Visit by his parents.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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