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US vice-president Biden set to visit for economic talks

AMERICAN vice-president Joe Biden could be next to join the Irish tourist trail set by his boss.

Barack Obama has been credited with boosting visitor numbers to this country and now his number two could be flying this way for another economic mission.

The Government is understood to be in talks with American officials about the possibility of Mr Biden attending an event to coincide with the second Global Irish Economic Forum this autumn.

The Pennsylvanian-born politician has frequently boasted of his "Irish mother" and is well-known for quoting old Irish sayings.

It is understood that Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton is keen to secure Mr Biden's attendance at a social event in the autumn.

Former President Bill Clinton is also on a Government wish-list of possible attendees for the forum, which will take place on October 7 and 8.



coup

"We know that the vice-president wants to come to Ireland at some stage so it would be a bit of a coup if he could come so soon after the president," said a source.

During the St Patrick Day celebrations in Washington last March, Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave a personal invite to Mr Biden, which included the offer of a game of golf.

At a breakfast meeting in Mr Biden's home, the taoiseach said: "No doubt you have heard great stories of golf in County Cork, in County Kerry or in County Down.

"Those stories are true.

"But you should also know there are no finer courses than in County Mayo. May I invite you to visit, where you and Dr Biden will be given a very warm welcome home indeed."

Genealogists have traced Mr Biden's family roots to the taoiseach's home county of Mayo. His great-grandmother was a Finnegan and left during the famine.



cards

Mr Biden's schedule may not allow him to attend the actual forum in Dublin Castle but his visit could be in the days before or after the event.

It is likely that the Government would stage a number of business events to "complement" the forum.

Sources suggested that depending on the time available a trip to the west of Ireland would also be on the cards.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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