Highlights from Ireland this week
Johnny Sexton’s Crumlin trip for biggest fan
Ireland rugby star Johnny Sexton touched the hearts of the country last week after he made an unannounced trip to Crumlin children’s hospital in Dublin to visit one of his biggest fans. A video made during Ireland’s last Six Nations game against France went viral due to the reaction of super-fan Tom Cahill.
The youngster was singing along to Ireland’s Call when he recognised Johnny Sexton in the player’s line-up, from when he had visited him in hospital over Christmas, while he was receiving chemotherapy. The video went viral, and having seen it Johnny, who had only returned to international duty in the France game, after injury, made a call to the hospital, who told him that Tom was back in receiving more chemo.
He surprised the young fan and presented him with his signed match jersey from the France game. The unpublicised visit from Johnny has been liked on Facebook nearly 2,000 times.
Ireland recognises Travellers as separate ethnic group for first time
Travellers have been recognised as a separate ethnicity in Ireland for the first time. Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the announcement in the Dáil last week and the news was greeted with a standing ovation by TDs. Mr Kenny referred to it as an “historic” and “proud” day for Ireland after many years of campaigning from the Traveller community.
“Our Traveller community is an integral part of our society for over a millennium, with their own distinct identity – a people within our people,” he said.
It is thought that there are about 300,000 people living in the Republic of Ireland who are members of the Travelling community, approximately 0.6 per cent of the total population. Mr Kenny said he recognised the inequalities and discrimination faced by the Travelling community and that there are “a range of special programmes and interventions to help deal with this”.
The decision was also praised by Irish President Michael D. Higgins who described it as “momentous”.
“I have no doubt that [the] clarification will be of assistance in interpreting legislation in relation to Travellers’ rights, and ensuring respect for Travellers’ distinct identity within the fabric of Irish society,” he said. Campaigners expressed their joy at the decision.
Irish cement giant rules itself out of Trump’s Mexican Wall bids
Irish construction firm Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) has ruled themselves out of having anything to do with Donald Trump’s planned wall along the border of the US and Mexico.
The worldwide company CRH was founded, and is headquartered in Ireland, and is the largest cement and construction materials group in America. Its chief executive Albert Manifold said last week that the project was ‘not of interest to us or relevant to us’. He said the question of the company participating in the construction of a wall along the 2,000-mile border ‘doesn’t arise’ as it does not have any ‘significant presence in the extreme south’ of the US.
Last week, US Customs and Border Protection said it will start awarding contracts by the middle of April for Mr Trump’s proposed ‘great wall’ to prevent illegal immigrants coming into the US. The agency said it would start to request bids on Monday, March 6th, and that interested companies would have to submit ‘concept papers’ to design and build prototypes by March 10th.