"Bejaysus, it's a pity I've to go back to Ireland" - Enda Kenny tells Washington

The Taoiseach is returning to Ireland after a flying visit to the US

Enda Kenny, Washington, St Patrick's Day, government, Barack Obama, US

US President Barack Obama (left) and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the White House | Image: MerrionStreet.ie

The caretaker Taoiseach Enda Kenny concluded his visit to the United States, joking that he wished he did not have to go back to face what he does.

Mr Kenny has curtailed his visit to Washington for St Patrick's Day celebrations to return to Dublin for talks on forming a government and head to Brussels for an EU leaders summit.

Last night in the White House, Mr Kenny presented US President Barack Obama with a 1916-themed Waterford Crystal bowl of shamrock.

US President Barack Obama (right) and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the White House | Image: MerrionStreet.ie

The day had seen Mr Kenny pack the normal St Patrick's Day programme over a few days into just one.

And at the final event of the day - a reception by the Irish Ambassador - Mr Kenny felt it was time for a joke.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Minister Charlie Flanagan played down suggestions that it was a signal from Enda Kenny that he had run out of energy.

He added this it was a lighthearted comment that has been 'misinterpreted':

A number of economic and promotional and fundraising events in Washington today are being attended by the Foreign Affairs Minister.

Mr Flanagan will also represent the government at a series of events in New York City to mark St Patrick's Day.

However the Taoiseach was not the only one using choice Irish phrases: