Sunday 28 December 2014

Not everyone welcomed Reagan visit 30 years ago

Published 15/07/2014 | 02:30

Protests agains Ronal Reagan visit to Ireland in 1984
Protests agains Ronal Reagan visit to Ireland in 1984
Protests agains Ronal Reagan visit to Ireland in 1984
Ronald Reagan in Ballyporeen

HE came to visit his ancestral home, but US President Ronald Reagan was not welcomed with open arms.

A new exhibition of previously unseen images of Reagan's historic 1984 visit to Ireland opens this evening in Temple Bar's The Culture Box.

'No Welcome for the President' records the negative reception Reagan received when he touched down in Ireland with wife Nancy to visit Ballyporeen in Co Tipperary.

Many Irishmen and women, including current President Michael D Higgins, objected to the 40th US president's visit.

There was controversy over his decision to support the Contra movement in Nicaragua, adding financial aid and fuel to a conflict that resulted in the deaths of 50,000 people.

As a result, a series of protests took place in Ireland with many taking to the streets to air their frustration.

Rose Comiskey, a young photojournalist working and living in Dublin at the time, captured the tense atmosphere permeating parts of the country. "I wanted to get a sense of what was happening on the streets," she told the Irish Independent.

"This man was popular in America but that wasn't the feeling in Ireland."

Comiskey kept the negatives carefully stored in her home and recently digitised them.

"It's the first time they've been displayed. I think it's timely, given his visit took place exactly 30 years ago."

The exhibition will run until July 24.

Irish Independent

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