Young Fine Gael criticise Trinity student and youth party leader for attending right-wing US conference

The Young America’s Foundation conference hosted members of the Trump administration and those who oppose abortion and same-sex-marriage

Young Fine Gael members have criticised Chloe Kennedy, a Science student at Trinity and Social Media Officer for Young Fine Gael (YFG), along with YFG’s President Killian Foley-Walsh, for attending a right-wing conference in the United States.

The Young America’s Foundation (YAF) held its annual conference in Washington DC last week with speakers such as Vice President Mike Pence and Texas Senator Ted Cruz as well as
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, an organisation that according to YAF’s website “exists to abolish abortion”.

The YAF describes its purpose as “increasing numbers of young Americans [who] understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values”.

The organisation counts among its alumni former Trump White House Attorney General, Jess Sessions, and current senior advisor to Donald Trump, Stephen Miller.

The Irish Independent reports this morning that Kennedy and Foley-Walsh’s attendance at the YAF conference has sparked criticism within both the Fine Gael parliamentary party and the YFG organisation.

The Independent quotes Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who is also a member of YFG, saying: “I don’t understand how any young person would want to align themselves with the present Republican administration – this certainly doesn’t represent the progressive Young Fine Gael members I know.”

Additionally, another insider in YFG said: “The values of YAF are in complete contradiction to those of YFG and of the inclusive society YFG envisions. The overwhelming majority of YFG members do not share the regressive positions of YAF. YFG through the democratic decisions of its members supports same sex marriage, the regulation of termination of pregnancy bill 2018, the separation of religion and State and inclusive sexual education.”

While at the conference Kennedy tweeted pictures of herself meeting Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and Lila Rose, the founder and president of Live Action, an anti-abortion organisation.

Kennedy tweeted that it has been an “absolute pleasure to meet the Vice President of the United States of America, Mike Pence this morning at the YAF”, adding that they had discussed “his Irish heritage and upcoming trip to Ireland”.

The 40 second video that she tweeted of her meeting Mike Pence, ends with the Vice President wishing her “top of the morning”.

Kennedy also took to the conference stage to deliver a prayer for the closing banquet.

During her time in Trinity, Kennedy has been involved in a number of campaigns, including Daire Hennessy’s unsuccessful bid to become president of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and the campaign to give Trinity students the right to opt out of Union membership.

Kennedy did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister English Studies student, and a former News Editor and Assistant News Editor.