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I’ll be back: Barack Obama pledges to return to Ireland


US President Barack Obama is planning a return trip to Ireland if he is successfully re-elected.

Speaking from the US, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who is spending five days in the US as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in a bid to attract investment to Ireland said a visit by the US president and his wife Michelle was a possibility although he joked that Mr Obama had "a small matter to deal with first" – the November presidential election.

At a meeting with the Taoiseach, Mr Obama also thanked the Irish people for the welcome that he and his wife Michelle received when they visited last year.

Mrs Obama has already said she would like to bring their children Malia and Sasha here.

The US president was attending an extended St. Patrick's Day at the White House with Mr Kenny, who assured him that debt-ridden Ireland would make a comeback.

He also said that the Irish government is in a position "to get Ireland moving again."

Mr Kenny said there are "signs of confidence" coming from the Irish economy.

The two men will host a special dinner tonight and Mr Kenny will present Mr Obama, who is facing a fight in the up-coming US presidential elections, with the traditional bowl of shamrock.

Yesterday the Taoiseach rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

“As of now, Dow Jones is up 28 points,” he announced.

Ambassador Michael Collins introduced the Taoiseach as“a man with a very big mandate and a very big mission and a very big message."

“My message is the same everywhere,” Mr Kenny said. “Invest in Ireland’s recovery.”

Earlier, US vice president Joe Biden told the Taoiseach: "The thing I love about you, old buddy, is you're always optimistic. That's the Irish in you."