Former Taoiseach named as European of the year

Former Taoiseach named as European of the year

The 67-year-old was honoured at an event on Monday, June 11.

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny was given the award for European of the Year due to his time spent strengthening relations between Ireland the EU.

The Fine Gael politician spoke of the benefits Ireland has reaped by being a part of the EU: "Ireland’s membership of the EU has transformed our country, from being backward, introverted and protectionist to outward-looking, export-oriented, with a globally confident people."

Mr Kenny also said that Europe must concentrate on its future: "While Brexit is clearly of critical importance to us as an EU member, Europe as a global player cannot become absorbed with the issue to the neglect of its own future agenda and the place in the world of the European Union in 20 years’ time.

"It is Europe’s value system that makes it so strong: peace, personal dignity, freedom, opportunity, privacy," he added.

At the event organised by European Movement Ireland, Mr Kenny was presented the award by current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar said he was "honoured" to be at the event, dubbing the former Taoiseach as the person "who gave us back our future".