Mairead McGuinness MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament today unveiled a statue of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Bruff, Co. Limerick, the location of the ancestral home of the Fitzgerald side of the family.
Ms McGuinness said this was an important heritage for Limerick and indeed for the country.
“Our heritage is central to who we are as a people. And the Fitzgerald Kennedy story is a very proud one,” she said.
“When on January 20th 1961 John Fitzgerald Kennedy took the oath to the highest office in the United States, that of President, he did so with his hand placed on a thick brown leather bible with a gold cross which was brought by his Fitzgerald ancestors in Bruff to the United States in 1848,” she said.
“The Fitzgerald Kennedy story is an inspiring one, a story of triumph of hard work and ambition, one of that gives hope to many and indeed has much resonance for immigrants today.”
She said great credit is due to Bruff Community Council, Bruff Tidy Towns and Bruff Heritage Group for the trojan work they have done and continue to do.
“Your work ensures that the rich history of the Fitzgerald Kennedys continues as a living heritage.
“I’m delighted and honoured to unveil this statue which is an important aspect of this heritage,” she said.
The statue was created by well-known Irish artist Seamus Connolly from Co Clare
In 2013 Caroline Kennedy along with her husband and children visited Bruff where she opened the Fitzgerald Centre formerly the old courthouse which was renovated by Bruff Heritage Group as a visitor centre displaying the ancestral links with the Fitzgerald Kennedy family.
Last year Bruff Community Council, Bruff Tidy Towns and Bruff Heritage Group secured funding from the EU through the Department of Rural and Community Development to erect the statue.
In conjunction with Limerick County Council work on the statue was completed in March.