By Kevin Kelley
The prime minister of Ireland will be in Westlake Oct. 13 to attend the Mayo Society of Greater Cleveland’s annual Charity Banquet and Ball at LaCentre Conference and Banquet Facility. The nonprofit Mayo Society funds charities associated with Mayo, a county in northwest Ireland.
Enda Kenny, who has served as head of the Republic of Ireland’s government since March 2012, will be guest of honor at the ball. Kenny, 61, served as Ireland’s minister for tourism and trade in the 1990s. The County Mayo native has led Ireland’s center-right Fine Gael party since 2002.
The prime minister will also address the City Club of Cleveland Feb. 12 during his Ohio visit.
Gerry Quinn, longtime host of a weekly Irish radio program, said Kenny’s visit marks the first time a prime minister of Ireland has visited Cleveland.
“We were working on it for about a year,” Quinn said of the prime minister’s visit. The involvement of the Cleveland Clinic was a big help, said Quinn, a native of County Mayo and president of the Mayo Society. Kenny will tour the Cleveland Clinic, a sponsor of the Mayo Society Ball, during his visit.
Corporate and individual tickets to the ball have all been sold, said Quinn, whose radio show can be heard Sunday mornings from 10 to noon on WHK 1420 AM.
Also being recognized at the Mayo Society Ball will be James Boland, the 2012 Mayo Society’s Person of the Year. A former partner and vice chairman at Ernst & Young, Boland later served as president and chief executive officer of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Gund Arena. Today, Boland serves on the boards of several private and public companies and nonprofit organizations.
Also scheduled to attend the Mayo Society Ball is Ireland’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Collin.