Parade photo proves Obama tapped into roots long before visit
Published 26/05/2011 | 05:00
HE was persona non grata when he took part in the Chicago St Patrick's Day parade in 2003, but his tale resonated with one family who had a picture to prove it.
When US President Barack Obama spoke of bringing up the rear of the parade in Chicago at College Green, Dublin, on Monday, Winnie and Dominic Curran couldn't believe he was referring to a picture that has taken pride of place on their dresser at their home in Dingle, Co Kerry, for a number of years.
The couple was sent the picture by Dominic's cousin, John F Kennedy, a lawyer from the south side of Chicago, whose father John Kennedy had emigrated to the US from Inch, Co Kerry, in the 1940s.
"Dominic's cousin sent us the picture a few years ago because he knew we were admirers of Obama," Winnie told the Irish Independent.
"It had been taken by either him or his sister Maureen who were also in the parade and knew Barack Obama, and they sent it over to us.
"We thought nothing more about it, until he started talking about being in the parade at the very back during his speech."
The photograph shows a youthful Obama dressed in a green tank top holding a toilet plunger aloft.
"Dominic used to work as a plumber and that's why his cousin sent him the picture," she added.
Unaware of his Irish ancestry at the time, Mr Obama told of how his group were at the very back of the parade, followed only by the city workers cleaning up the rubbish.
He joked that parade organisers watching the spectacle on Monday must be feeling bad.