Sunday 17 December 2017

Obama's visit is more than symbolic

BARACK OBAMA is one of the greatest orators of the present age. He can move vast audiences to enthusiasm or tears -- or both. Tonight he will surely enchant listeners at his rally in one of Dublin's most historic locations, College Green.

The US president's task is much easier than that of Queen Elizabeth last week. Hers was no less than to copperfasten a happy, free and equal relationship between Ireland and Britain. She succeeded beyond the dreams of any past generation. While doing so, she attracted overwhelming admiration for her personal qualities.

Mr Obama, by contrast, follows a long line of American leaders who celebrated their Irish descent on their visits to this country. Our two outstanding relationships were with John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton -- the first because we took pride in Irish successes in the United States; the second for his hard work on the Northern peace process.

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