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Posted at 06:36 PM ET, 03/19/2012

Irish leaders in D.C. for St. Patrick’s Day PR blitz


Irish ambasssador Michael Collins and Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Dupont Circle Hotel Monday. (Andrew Propp)

Done with St. Patrick’s Day? Not in Washington, where the March 17 holiday has morphed into a political marathon of all things Irish.

“As a professional diplomat, it’s the busiest working day of the year,” Irish ambassador Michael Collins told us Monday. “St. Patrick’s Day is no longer a day — it’s a week, it’s a festival.”

Every March, Ireland’s Taoiseach (the equivalent of a prime minister) jumps on a plane to the U.S. to promote his country. Collins accompanied Enda Kenny for this year’s green PR blitz, themed “Ireland is open for business.” Stops included Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade with Rahm Emanuel, Notre Dame University, Wall Street (where Kenny rang the New York Stock Exchange’s opening bell Monday morning) and D.C., where his schedule included Monday’s American Ireland Fund dinner and breakfast Tuesday with Joe Biden, lunch at the Capitol Hill with John Boehner and a White House reception with President Obama.

Kenny squeezed in a quick stop Monday afternoon at the (Irish-owned) Dupont Circle Hotel, where waiters passed juice, champagne and Guinness (of course). Almost every guy showed up wearing a green tie (of course) and Kenny worked the room, waxing poetic about United Airlines’ new direct flight from D.C. to Dublin and promising every tourist a VIP experience: “We’ve got so much going for us.”

What, you expected him to talk about the EU debt crisis?

By  |  06:36 PM ET, 03/19/2012

 
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