Tuesday 22 May 2018

'It's a bit surreal' - Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visits site of JFK assassination in Dallas

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar looks out of the 7th floor window of the Dallas County Administration Building in Dealey Plaza, downtown Dallas, a floor above primary crime scene for the 1963 JFK shooting after evidence of a sniper was found on the sixth floor, known then as the Texas School Book Depository, as part of his visit to the United States. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar looks out of the 7th floor window of the Dallas County Administration Building in Dealey Plaza, downtown Dallas, a floor above primary crime scene for the 1963 JFK shooting after evidence of a sniper was found on the sixth floor, known then as the Texas School Book Depository, as part of his visit to the United States. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar looks out of the 7th floor window of the Dallas County Administration Building in Dealey Plaza, downtown Dallas, a floor above the vantage point of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, known then as the Texas School Book Depository, as part of his visit to the United States. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar looks out the window of Texas School Book Depository
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has visited the site of the infamous assassination of John F Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.

Mr Varadkar said it felt a “bit surreal” as he looked out the window of Texas School Book Depository where shooter Lee Harvey Oswald is alleged to have shot President Kennedy.

“It’s a place you read about and hear about,” he added.

The Taoiseach visited the museum dedicated to Mr Kennedy’s assassination on the second day of his St Patrick’s Day trade mission to the US.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar looks out the window of Texas School Book Depository
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar looks out the window of Texas School Book Depository

Earlier, Mr Varadkar during an official visit to the Choctaw reservation in Oklahoma.

Mr Varadkar, who is the first Taoiseach to visit the Choctaws, thanked the community for the support they provided to the Irish people during the Great Famine.

The Choctaw nation raised $170, which equates to thousands of dollars in modern currency, and sent it to Ireland in 1847.

The Taoiseach paid special tribute to the current Choctaw Chief Gary Batton and said the story of the community’s charity “symbolises the spirit of St Patrick better than anything else”.

“Back in the nineteenth century, when the Irish people were oppressed, abused, neglected and degraded by our colonial master, at our lowest, your spirit of generosity was at its highest,” Mr Varadkar said.

“You showed compassion to a starving people, who were dying in their hundreds of thousands, or about to embark on our own ‘Trail of Tears’ across the Atlantic Ocean to seek a new life in Canada or the United States. 

“A few years ago, on a visit to Ireland, a representative of the Choctaw Nation called your support for us ‘a sacred memory’.  It is that and more. It is a sacred bond, which has joined our peoples together for all time,” he added.

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