HILLARY Clinton has pencilled a pre-Christmas Dublin visit into her diary.
The US Secretary of State has quietly confirmed to Government officials that she intends to travel here in December.
Her acceptance of a low-key invitation to a ministerial meeting as part of Ireland's presidency of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will be a major boost to Enda Kenny around Budget day.
The Herald first revealed last month that moves were afoot to lure Ms Clinton here in the aftermath of November's US election.
The official invitations to the event have not yet been issued but the Herald understands that behind the scenes talks have taken place with US representatives.
A source revealed: "We are working on the understanding that Ms Clinton will be travelling to Dublin in the first week of December.
"Her representatives have indicated that she intends to come. Everybody is delighted. It's a bit of a coup."
Other high-profile guests will include British foreign secretary William Hague, along with the foreign ministers of France, Russia, Germany and Turkmenistan.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs could not officially confirm the visit. She said: "The invitations haven't been formally issued yet. They will be sent out in late October or early November."