US President Barack Obama looks set to celebrate his last St. Patrick’s Day in office in Ireland.
Discussions are underway regarding the possibility of a return visit from the US President who first visited Ireland in 2011.
If Obama does return to the Emerald Isle for the festivities, he will become the first US President to spend St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, breaking a long tradition in which the Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) travels to the White House for the feast day.
As reported by the Star, the president’s eighth cousin Henry Healy, who lives in Moneygall, Co. Offaly, believes talks are underway to make the visit happen.
“When we were over in Washington in March, President Obama's chief speechwriter Cody Keenan said the President was interested in coming back to Ireland before his Presidency ends,” Healy said.
"He said part of the plan would be for the President to speak in Galway like his predecessor John F Kennedy did back in 1963.
"Another member of the White House team also said he would not be surprised if President Obama made another visit to Ireland before the end of next year,"
Contacted by the Irish Independent, the White House has not denied that the trip could take place before the end of Obama’s presidency but were unable to confirm it.
“We have no additional presidential travel to announce this time,” they told the paper.
Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny has also revealed both the President’s and Vice-President's wish to return to Ireland in the coming year.
“I've spoken to the President on a number of occasions and to the vice-President, I know they're anxious to come to swing the clubs, and the invitation is wide open."
"That would be a good three-ball, wouldn't it?" he quipped referring to a golf game.
"Yes, I'd love to be see the President or the Vice-President being able to come to Ireland, obviously there are protocols and official things that must be gone through."
"It would really cement the tradition and the close ties between Ireland and the USA," he said.
The White House has refused to rule out the prospect of another visit to Ireland by the U.S. president Barack Obama. More at 7pm— RedFM News (@RedFMNews) July 24, 2015
"To have the US President here in Ireland celebrating with us and being presented with the Shamrock here on Irish soil, would be totally new and it would capture the imagination of all the Irish in the US."
"It would be great to have him visit the Barack Obama Plaza and the visitor centre, which has become a huge attraction for US visitors passing through."
"Who would have thought back in 2008 when he became President that he was going to visit Ireland and Monegal. This roller coasters ride seems to be never ending."