Sunday 19 November 2017

Barack Obama: I couldn't wait to get back to Ireland

US President Barack Obama said there was a time when nobody could ever imagine a meeting of world leaders being hosted in the North.

He said the generation of young people in Northern Ireland had seen more rapid change than many around the world- and had reasons to be hopeful.

He said they are an inheritor of a just and harder peace, and lived in a thoroughly modern Northern Ireland.

And he said there were students lounging around asking each other "what's the craic?"

He was speaking in Belfast's Waterfront Hall to an audience of 2,000 people - including 1,600 schoolchildren - before travelling to Fermanagh for the G8.

He revealed he had always wanted to come back to Ireland after his last visit was cut short two years ago.

US first lady Michelle Obama arrives to introduce President Barack Obama to speak to students and other guests at Belfast Waterfront in Belfast
Residents go about their daily life as tight security is show as US President Barak Obama arrives at Belfast Waterfront Hall before delivering his keynote address

"It was a magical visit, the only problem it was far too short. A volcano in Iceland forced us to leave before we could even spend the night," he said.

President Obama said he and his wife Michelle had always wanted to come back to Emerald Isle and had brought their daughters this time.

He said the generation of young people in Northern Ireland had seen more rapid change than many around the world- and had reasons to be hopeful.

He said they were an inheritor of a just and harder peace, and lived in a thoroughly modern Northern Ireland.

By Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Online Editors

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