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Sorry, I can't do jury duty, Judge - I'm off to meet my cousin Obama

JUDGES hear all sorts of imaginative excuses for why someone can't do jury duty, but this might just top them all.

The Moneygall cousin of Barack Obama is to ask the courts to give him a break -- so he can visit the White House.

Henry Healy -- Obama's eighth cousin -- was this week served with a summons for jury duty on the same day that he is due to make the trip to Pennsylvania Avenue as a guest of the world's most powerful man.

The Herald can reveal that Mr Healy has written to the courts outlining his situation but is still waiting on a reply.

"It's a strange one, alright," he admitted, explaining that he was put on notice by the American Embassy last week about a forthcoming invitation to the meet the Obamas on March 20.

But now he has received a letter advising him to appear at Tullamore Courthouse on the exact same day.

"I read it first and didn't cop it. It was only after a few seconds that I had to go back and look again at the date," he said.

"I've filled in the form and sent it back so hopefully they will release me," he told the Herald.

The White House is also set to invite Moneygall publican Ollie Hayes who famously served President Obama a pint of Guinness during his visit to Ireland last May.

"Who would have thought this time last year that we'd be planning a trip to the White House," laughed Mr Healy.

"I can't wait, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity."

"I'll be in New York for St Patrick's Day and then on to Washington and we're in the White House on the 20th before going to Boston for the Boston Irish Film Festival where the documentary The Road To Moneygall will be screened."

It was during last March's St Patrick's Day celebrations in the White House that President Obama announced he would visit Ireland.

A photograph of him and Michelle supping pints was subsequently reproduced in newspapers around the world.

Moneygall is believed to be the birthplace of the President's great-great-great-grandfather.