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Sunday 22 April 2018

Retired garda has favour to ask of Obama: return JFK son's book

Barry Duggan in Moneygall

PRESIDENT Barack Obama may be asked to use his offices to have a book of poems returned to the Kennedy family. The book was dropped by the son of President John F Kennedy as he was leaving Shannon airport.

And, by coincidence, the young garda who picked it up after it slipped out of the then six-year-old John F Kennedy Jr's hands over four decades ago, now lives in Mr Obama's ancestral village of Moneygall.

Gda Mick O'Dwyer, now retired, tried to return the book to the child, but was kept at bay by crowds and Secret Service officials.

Mr O'Dwyer was on duty at Shannon Airport in 1967 when Jackie Kennedy and her children, John and Caroline, were returning home following a summer break in Waterford.

"There was a massive crowd and we were trying to hold them back," he said.

"She (Jackie) had a hold of the two children by the hands and the young fella, John Jnr, had a small plastic bucket with seashells and the book. He passed by me and this little book fell from his hand

"I picked it up, but stumbled a bit from the crowd. The security had led Jackie and the children through and the crowd were after them and I couldn't get to them with all the security. He never noticed that he had dropped it."

"I just wrote on the inside cover the : '20th of July '67, Shannon Airport, 2.30pm'.

"I was going to post it out a number of years to John and explain the story and ask him to sign it, but then he was killed in the air crash."

The book is entitled: 'Springs of Indian Wisdom.

Now Mr O'Dwyer is hopeful of meeting Mr Obama on his upcoming visit. "I'd like to give it or send it to the Kennedys. Perhaps Mr Obama will be able to do so, but I'd say he has enough on his plate than to have to deal with something small like this."

John F Kennedy Jnr and his wife Carolyn died in a plane crash in 1999.

Irish Independent

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