As the Mayor of Kerry John Francis Flynn heads to New York to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and Kerry’s diaspora, his personal views on immigration in Kerry are called into question.
The Mayor of Kerry Cllr John Francis Flynn has said there is no contradiction with his views on curbing immigration in Kerry and meeting Kerry’s diaspora in New York as part of the upcoming St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Speaking ahead of a four-day visit that includes meetings with representatives of Irish America, the Mayor denied there was any double standards in meeting descendants of immigrants to the US - many of whom were not always welcomed with open arms – and his own belief that immigration in Kerry should be capped.
The Mayor is on record as saying the number of immigrants in Kerry is too high and is placing enormous strain on local services.
He dismissed any assertion that his New York visit was an attempt to have it both ways on the tricky topic of immigration, given the background story of many Irish-Americans involves ancestors having to leave Ireland, under difficult circumstances, to set up a new life abroad.
“No. I don’t see any link with my views and going to the US. I’ve no issue with immigrants coming into Ireland. It’s regulation what I’m calling for. There is only so much that a country can take,” Mayor Flynn said in response.
“You look at America, and all the Irish that went there, their immigration laws are fairly strict compared to ours. The Irish going to the US have gone through a fairly severe process to get their applications and visas, and rightly so,” he added.
During his visit to New York the Mayor will receive a guided tour of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. He will meet with the senior team from IDA North America; management at Tourism Ireland-North America; and the Consul General of Ireland, Helena Nolan.
Mayor Flynn is a guest at the reception for overseas delegations hosted by the Tanaiste & Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin at the Consulate.
On St Patrick’s Day, the Mayor will attend a breakfast for visiting dignitaries hosted by the Mayor of New York, Hon. Eric Adams, and New York City Council, at the Mayor’s Residence at Gracie Mansion.
The Mayor of Kerry will then join Patrice Buckley, President of the New York Kerry Association, and its members, before taking part in the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade down Fifth Avenue.
“It’s a massive honour for me. We’ll be using every chance we have there to promote the county. It’s very important to Kerry people abroad that we are going there to meet them. It’s a busy schedule with events every day,” he said.
The Mayor said Kerry people abroad have never forgotten the county. He feels the GAA has created a significant link with home for Kerry people.
"I want to acknowledge this over there. I was involved in the Kerry association in London when I lived there. The work they do for Kerry, and Irish people, is unreal. I know how important these associations are,” he added.
The Mayor said since he was first elected to Kerry County Council, he has been ‘a strong advocate’ for Kerry’s diaspora.
“It is very important as many wouldn’t understand the importance of these associations. All Kerry people abroad should never feel as if they are alone or isolated from home,” he said.