Family plans big Gathering party for top Obama aide
ONE of the most influential men in the US may be jetting to these shores as part of The Gathering celebrations.
Denis McDonough (43) is hotly tipped to become chief of staff to President Barack Obama, one of the top posts in the administration.
Chief of staff serves as the president's gatekeeper, making the position one of the most powerful in the White House. Mr McDonough is a deputy national security adviser to Mr Obama.
His Irish relatives are looking forward to celebrating his promotion with a big family get-together in Connemara this summer.
Former GAA president Joe McDonagh, a cousin, said: "I spoke with his sister Anna, with whom I have fairly regular contact, the last evening and she said Denis won't know himself until 12 hours before the announcement and then the family will know two hours beforehand."
Mr McDonough's sister Anna and mother Kathleen visited Galway in 2011 and are hoping to return with more family members this summer.
"We're hoping to have a major reunion this year. We want all the strands of the family to get together for The Gathering," said Mr McDonagh.
"We'll be arranging it for St MacDara's day in July in Carna. We're engaging with our cousins in Boston and Anna's family and Denis' family about having that gathering and we will be sending him an invite.
"Denis visited here when he was a student and again with his wife in the 1990s but I don't believe he has been back since.''
The former Galway hurler revealed how his famous cousin had been considering opting out of public life earlier this year.
"I met with Anna and her sister Mary last March in New York and we discussed Denis's work. That was before Obama's re-election of course but Anna mentioned that he thought his role at that time was so time consuming, taking up his life 24/7 that he was considering stepping down and withdrawing from public life.
''But he changed his mind and now plans to stay with the administration," said Mr McDonagh.