Ambassador Rooney: Obama will 'definitely' visit Ireland
President Obama's Irish roots: Click Here
U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney has revealed that President Barack Obama “definitely” plans on traveling to Ireland in the near future.
Back in May, the U.S. President, who has both Kenyan and Irish roots, was overheard in a Washington D.C. restaurant telling an Irish woman "I've got to visit Ireland,” after overhearing her accent when chatting with customers.
Now the newly appointed Ambassador Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, co-founder of the American Ireland Fund and a prominent figure in the Irish-American community, has confirmed the long standing rumor that Obama would return to the “motherland.” In a press conference in Dublin yesterday, after presenting his credentials to Irish President Mary McAleese, Rooney said he’s discussed the idea of Obama visiting Ireland with the president.
“Well I know that he wants to come,” Rooney said. “When things settle down, he definitely would plan it.”
Obama would most likely make a stop in Ireland on the way to or from one of his trips to Europe or Asia.
Rooney said he and the president discussed including a visit to Ireland during “one of his trips to, you know, Europe or maybe the Far East or somewhere, if he could come back this way it would be good.”
The news of the Obama Irish visit is welcomed in Ireland, where efforts have been made to invite him over on several occasions. Obama has Irish roots - his great-great-great grandfather, Fulmuth Kearney, hails from Moneygall in County Offaly and emigrated to America, eventually settling in Ohio right after the Irish famine of the 1840s.
The U.S. Ambassador to Ireland wasn’t specific on the dates of Obama's pending Irish visit. “His schedule right now is so full it’s difficult to see when it would be,” said Rooney.
During the press conference, Rooney was also asked about the possibility of a bilateral agreement on immigration between Ireland the U.S., similar to the deal Australia has with the States in which Australian college graduates can obtain two-year renewable visas.
“I think right now with the situation that exists with immigration generally for America, it’s hard to pinpoint that you’re going to do something for just one country,” he said.
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