US officials concede links to other areas
Published 21/05/2011 | 05:00
US President Barack Obama's ancestral ties extend beyond Moneygall in Co Offaly, White House officials admitted last night.
In a tug-of-war over the president's origins, Shinrone on the Offaly-Tipperary border is laying claim to earlier ties with the American president than Moneygall can boast.
Although careful to avoid giving credence to the claims from the neighbouring village -- 10 miles from Moneygall -- that Mr Obama hails from there, Mr Obama's staff said they were "aware" of the dispute.
Ahead of the president's visit to Moneygall, Mr Obama's officials were "very excited to see this small town in Ireland from which he has roots".
White House Deputy Assistant to the President Ben Rhodes said officials had decided he did have "direct links" with Moneygall.
But he said this was not the only place that could possibly claim Mr Obama as its own.
"We believe the president likely has bloodlines that extend beyond Moneygall into other communities," he said.
"Rather than wade into a hot debate, we think he has ties that extend to other places," he added.