independent

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Cautious optimism about Obama Wexford visit

Published 29/01/2013|12:54

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AN INDICATION as to whether US President Barack Obama may accept an invitation to come to New Ross this summer to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic visit of President John F. Kennedy may be given on St. Patrick's Day.

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According to Cllr. Michael Sheehan, Chairperson of the JFK50 commemoration committee, no indication is expected to be given until three months prior to any visit.

'St. Patrick's Day might be a good benchmark to look for when the Taoiseach and Government Ministers go over to the States,' said Cllr. Sheehan.

The US President will be in Co. Fermanagh for the G8 Summit of world leaders in Lough Erne on June 17 and 18. The JFK50 commemorations are scheduled to take place just days later on June 22.

'I am cautiously optimistic and realistic as well,' commented Cllr. Sheehan, speaking on the prospect of a Presidential visit.

Meanwhile, celebrations to mark the 5oth anniversary of President Kennedy's visit to County Wexford could be brought forward, if JFK's current successor can be persuaded to add New Ross to his itinerary.

'We are trying our best to persuade Barack Obama to come to New Ross,' said Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe this week. Minister of State Kehoe has been appointed chairman of a national committee to mark the original visit by the later assassinated US head of state in 1963. He pointed out that President Obama is due to be in Northern Ireland during June for the gathering of world economic leaders. Paul Kehoe says every effort is being made to persuade his officials that it would be a good idea for the president to stay on the island and continue down to Barrowside where the commemorations are due to take place on June 22.

'If Obama decides to go to New Ross, then there is no reason why the events there could not be brought forward by two days to facilitate him,' said the Fine Gael politician. 'Every effort will be made to entice him to County Wexford.'

The Minister of State is too young to recall the events of 1963 but he met the present incumbent of the White House during the State visit to Ireland in May 2011.

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