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Barack and Michelle Obama learn to pull a pint of Guinness in Ollie Hayes' pub in Moneygall on May 23 2011 Photo by: White House

President Obama invited to JFK celebrations in Wexford this summer

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Barack and Michelle Obama learn to pull a pint of Guinness in Ollie Hayes' pub in Moneygall on May 23 2011 Photo by: White House

President Barack Obama has been invited to Ireland to commemorate John F Kennedy’s links with Wexford.

Talks are underway to involve the re-elected President to events planned for the 50th anniversary of JFK’s visit to Ireland.

The Irish Independent reports that discussions have begun behind the scenes for a return trip by the Obama family.

Already First Lady Michelle Obama has expressed a desire to return to Moneygall with their daughters, Sasha and Malia.

Obama is already confirmed for a trip to Northern Ireland in June when he will attend the G8 summit of world leaders in Fermanagh.

A series of special events in and around the Kennedys’ ancestral home in Wexford are planned for the same week and organisers hope to persuade President Obama to travel South.

The report says that several members of the Kennedy family are scheduled to attend the official opening of a new visitor centre and associated events in Wexford.

The paper says Irish government officials and the US Embassy have informally discussed the prospect of an Obama visit to Wexford for the celebrations.

One senior government source told the paper: “The feelers have gone out. It’s at a sensitive stage and nothing’s official yet.

“The fact that the dates are so close together has been noted on all sides. It’s on the table for discussion. It’s being looked at both here and on the US side.”

The report says the G8 summit takes place on June 17 and 18 with the Kennedy commemorations scheduled for June 22.

Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy and his sister Jean Kennedy-Smith, the former US Ambassador, are already confirmed to attend the Wexford commemoration.
Congressman Joe Kennedy has also been invited.

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe, who is in charge of the JFK 50 events, confirmed the dates can be altered if President Obama can attend.

Kehoe told the Irish Independent: “If the president’s officials express an interest, there is nothing planned that couldn’t be brought forward to facilitate his schedule.”

New Ross is the ancestral home of the Kennedy family. JFK’s great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy boarded a famine ship from the quay in the town to emigrate to America in 1848.
President Kennedy paid an emotional visit to New Ross in 1963.

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