Monday 23 October 2017

Obama's speech to focus on unique US-Irish relationship

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

US President Barack Obama will talk about the relationship between Ireland and America in his speech in Dublin on Monday evening, White House officials said last night.

Mr Obama arrives in the country the day after tomorrow for a whistle-stop tour.

Ahead of his trip to his ancestral home in Moneygall, Co Offaly, Mr Obama is said to be "very excited to see this small town in Ireland from which he has roots".


The teatime public event featuring Mr Obama's speech is free and no tickets are required for admittance. But organisers are advising members of the public to turn up early.

Mr Obama's deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said Mr Obama's remarks will be "very Irish-focused".

"And I think it's a chance to talk about the relationship between our two countries.

"It's also a chance to talk about the enormous affinity, frankly, that the American people have for Ireland that's rooted in part in the huge population of Irish-Americans here.

"And it's a chance for the president to really celebrate the ties between our countries and the kind of unique feelings that the American people have for Ireland, and hopefully that the Irish people have had with the US for many years," he said.

"So, again, I think that is a speech very much focused on Ireland and the United States and the ties between our peoples, rather than, for instance, a statement of -- extended statement on policy," he added.

Mr Rhodes said Mr Obama is very excited to see Moneygall.

"Moneygall is a town of under 300 people in Ireland. I've seen reports about the bloodlines that extend across the town and people who may be related to the president.

"So it's certainly quite likely that in a town of that size that is so deeply rooted in that part of Ireland that there are people who share those ties.

"I couldn't say with certainty the nature of those relations, but we certainly expect it to be a robust topic of discussion with the residents of Moneygall when the president is able to stop by and pay a visit," he said.

Irish Independent

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