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Sunday 17 December 2017

Minister urges Obama to visit the Liberator's tomb

Shane Hickey

A Government minister has said that US President Barack Obama should visit the grave of Daniel O'Connell during his visit to Ireland next week.

Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan yesterday said he would welcome Mr Obama going to see the historic crypt in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

O'Connell, who was dubbed 'The Liberator', has been connected with Mr Obama through Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and statesman whom the US president has called a hero.

Mr Douglass appeared at a rally in Dublin with Mr O'Connell in 1845 and later praised the Irish politician.

"I think it would be very significant (if he stopped at the O'Connell crypt). I would welcome it and recommend it," Mr Deenihan said.

There has also been a call from the Glasnevin Trust, which runs the cemetery, for Mr Obama to visit the site when he arrives next Monday.

Speaking yesterday at a commemoration to O'Connell, who died on May 15, 1847, John Green, chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, said the next week was of particular importance.

"I think Daniel O'Connell above all would realise we are on the cusp of one of the most important weeks in this State's history," he said.

Secret service agents have already inspected the site in advance of any possible visit.

Irish Independent

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