LIMERICK rightly celebrates its connections with Irish-American politicians such as JFK but it can also lay claim to one of the most senior figures south of the border - the Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena was part of a delegation to recently pass through Shannon Airport, where he discussed his Mid-West links with airport CEO Neil Pakey.
Minister Meade Kuribrena sat close to Finance Minister Michael Noonan at the ordination of Pope Francis in the Vatican last March, a day of great pride for Latin America.
“When he introduced himself, he told me his people were from Limerick. It turns out a Meade from Limerick emigrated to Mexico six generations ago and he is a direct descendant, ” said Minister Noonan.
But the Mexican minister told Mr Pakey that he would be grateful for any more information on his Irish ancestors.
They enjoyed a chat as Minister Meade Kuribrena returned to Mexico via Shannon following a trade trip to Turkey headed up by President Enrique Pena Nieto. The prestigious delegation was also greeted in Shannon by the Mexican Ambassador to Ireland, Carlos Garcia de Alba.
After discussing how Meade came to be part of his name, Mr Pakey said he would see if any Limerick Leader readers could help the minister trace the ancestors who left County Limerick in the mid-1800s. To make him feel at home, Mr Pakey also presented him with a copy of the paper.
“Minister Meade told us that he is related to the Meades from Limerick and would love to find out more about his Limerick relations. I thought that maybe the Limerick Leader readers might be able to help. Minister Meade said he was proud of his Irish connection and was very interested in Limerick. He said that he hopes to visit in 2014,” said Mr Pakey.
Minister Meade Kuribreña has been in his current job for a year and previously held the finance and energy portfolios.
Ireland has strong links with the Latin American independence movements which overthrew Spanish rule in the 1800s.
Chilean national hero Bernardo O’Higgins was the son of an Irish viceroy and William “Guillermo” Brown, the father of the Argentine navy, was a native of Mayo.
Eliza Lynch from Charleville was mistress to Paraguay’s dictator Francisco Solano Lopez and the de facto queen of that country.
Anybody who can help Minister Meade with his Limerick ancestors can contact the Limerick Leader at firstname.lastname@example.org, through social media or on 061 214 515.