Remarks by An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny TD St Patrick's Day Breakfast hosted by Vice-President Biden.

I am truly honoured to join you here in your historic Residence this morning.

Thank you for honouring our country on this St Patrick's Day.

I look forward later today to my meeting with President Obama and so many of our other great friends here in Washington.

I also remember, with the deepest affection and gratitude, the memory of friends who are no longer with us - and especially on this day the late Senator Ted Kennedy.

We owe so much to Ted and to all the Kennedy family.

I am delighted that we are joined by Vicki Kennedy. We hope Vicki that you will find time to visit us again in Ireland soon.

Mr Vice President,

We gather here beside the Naval Observatory, reminding us of the great naval tradition of this country and the voyages undertaken from here, as well as the explorations across the Atlantic which led to the discovery of America.

A former US President, John Quincy Adams, spent some time witnessing the work of the Observatory, as journeys were plotted by the stars, and destinations were followed.

All of us present here have traced the journeys from our small island to this great country, which has offered to so many a new life of opportunity.

In Ireland today, we are now plotting a new course of our own and shaping a new destiny. The waters before us may be rough, but we have begun our course and our destination is clear.

I know, Mr. Vice-President, of the deep and abiding attachment which you and your family have with Ireland.

I was honoured to be present in Denver on the historic occasion when you accepted your party's nomination for the Vice-Presidency.

On that day, you spoke very movingly of your mother, Jean Finnegan Biden, and of the inspirational role she played in your life.

I am proud to note that she not only shared an Irish heritage, but links with my own home county of Mayo.

From all that I have heard, Jean Finnegan represented the best of Irish America: her dedication to her family, faith and community, an indomitable spirit, and a deep commitment to service that you and your own family represent today.

You know that we are very proud of our immigrants who helped to shape this nation in so many and different ways.

You should know also, as we celebrate our National Day, of the immense pride we take in you, Mr Vice President, and the high office which you have achieved.

Down through the generations, Irish leaders drew enormous inspiration and support from the United States, and from the ideals of your founding fathers.

The peace that is enjoyed on the island of Ireland today is due in great measure to the leadership of successive American leaders, and we are grateful for the constant interest which you have taken, regardless of the other obligations which you carry over decades of service.

I know that there are many here this morning in positions of leadership, in many spheres of life in Washington and beyond.

I know also that you are united by one compelling emotion on this day - your connection with Ireland and the loyalty and affection which have for our country.

It is hard to overstate how engaging that story is, as we reflect on the courage and perseverance of those who went before us, of their dedication and their sheer hard work.

It not only helped to build a great nation, but it created a brighter future for the generations that came after them.

I come here this morning, Mr. Vice-President, certain that the friendship we celebrate here is deep and abiding

And I come here with one clear message: Ireland will recover, renew and rebuild under new leadership at home.

We are open for business.

We look forward to working in the closest economic partnership with you and, as committed Europeans, to playing our full part in the transatlantic relationship that is so vital to us all.

I assure you also, that as part of a wider partnership on global issues, we remain committed to fighting hunger and to helping the most vulnerable in Africa and elsewhere, to defending human rights and to playing our full role in the United Nations at these challenging times.

I feel confident that, with the support of the United States we can meet those challenges, sure in the knowledge that we have so many good friends - by our side, and on our side.

Finally, I understand, Mr. Vice -President, that you might enjoy a game of golf in Ireland.

No doubt you have heard great stories of golf in County Cork, in County Kerry or in County Down.

Those stories are true.

But you should also know here are no finer courses than in County Mayo.

May I invite you to visit, where you and Dr. Biden will be given a very warm welcome home indeed.

Thank you once more for your kind hospitality this morning

Let me conclude by saying, in the Irish language:

Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Phádraig Daoibh go léir,

Happy St Patrick's Day to you all.