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Irish Prime Minister drops in at Greenford

IRISH prime minister Enda Kenny has made an impromptu visit to a Greenford football club, just weeks after hosting the Queen and Barack Obama.
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IRISH prime minister Enda Kenny has made an impromptu visit to a Greenford football club, just weeks after hosting the Queen and Barack Obama.

The Taoiseach headed to Tir Chonaill Gaels, in Berkeley Avenue, Greenford, on Friday last week before going on to a private party in Cricklewood.

He was greeted by leader of Ealing Council Julian Bell, new Ealing Mayor councillor John Gallagher, and spent an hour talking to delighted members of the Irish club.

Club secretary Stephen McLoughlin said: "It was Mr Kenny's first visit to a Gaelic football club anywhere in Britain. His colleague Joe McHugh is a TD (Teachta Dála equivalent to an MP) in the Irish parliament for Donegal which has a strong connection to West London. Tom Mahon, our chairman, is from Donegal along with many members of the club.

"Mr Kenny has been prime minister only 12 weeks but he's had a busy 12 weeks, he hosted the Queen and President Obama and then Tir Chonaill Gaels.

"It was a huge event for the club. The Taoiseach very rarely visits Gaelic football clubs in Ireland even though he's a very big supporter. I have to say he must've shaken the hand of every man, woman and child there. We showed him around the club and he was keen to speak to everybody, he was very approachable. He got to see some of the kids having a game and he even threw the ball in.

"He made a wonderful speech. It was his first visit to Britain after hosting the Queen. It was an opportunity to thank the people of Britain and he talked about the connection that Britain and Ireland have and the relationship has been improved by the recent visit of Her Majesty the Queen."

Tir Chonaill Gaels was formed in 1962 and is one of the oldest Gaelic football clubs in the country and one of the most successful amateur teams – they have been senior champions 12 times in the last 20 years.

And up to 150 British-born Irish children play in the under 16 teams.

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