Saturday 20 January 2018

Obama and Liz head our way

John Chambers

HERE we are slashing ministerial salaries and mothballing their Mercs, but in a startling display of excess we'll have three heads of state in the country in May. Barack Obama's "yes I can" response to Enda Kenny's invitation to visit Ireland means that he'll join Queen Liz here, as that's also the month she's coming. Can't think of the third head of state? Try the one with us through thick and thin, our own president.

Despite all the White House brouhaha, the Secret Service agents and the like, Obama's visit will probably be the easier to organise.

We can kind of guess the score: meeting the great and the good, a visit to the Aras, a trip back to Moneygall in Co Offaly to look at the ancestors' old stomping ground and a glass of Uncle Arthur, a la Ronald Reagan. It's difficult to see the Queen fitting into that kind of itinerary. For a start, Offaly's out, lest anyone let slip that it was once called King's County, raising all that old unpleasantness all over again. Then there's the tickly issue of her visiting the ancestral stomping ground, on the basis that her family once claimed the whole gaff.

Nor is dinner at the Aras without its difficulties. Obama can always sleep in the Park at the US ambassador's residence, but the Queen will have to gloss over the fact that the Aras was once the vice-regal lodge. The last thing we need after putting 800 years of history to rest is some kind of "who's been sleeping in my bed?" spat. If they don't organise things properly the Garda Traffic Corps will have its hands full trying to make sure all the high-speed cavalcades don't crash into each other.

It's a bit like the Euro- vision. Nothing for years and then suddenly a flood. But let's not let ourselves down as we did over that by complaining about the cost.

John Chambers

Sunday Indo Living

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