A potentially embarrassing encounter is on the cards for President Obama when he visits Moneygall, his ancestral home in Ireland, on May 23rd.
The local-elected member of parliament, Michael Lowry, is at the center of a huge political scandal after a commission of inquiry called the Moriarty Tribunal found him guilty of using blatant political influence when he was a minister to ensure that a lucrative cell phone license went to businessman Denis O’Brien in 1996 .
It was just one of several scrapes Lowry found himself in when he was in office, including tax evasion and secret overseas bank accounts.
The tribunal traced a path of what they claimed were illegal payments to Lowry by O’Brien after the license was granted, though both men have vehemently denied there was any quid pro quo.
As the local member of the parliament, Lowry has said he fully intends to meet and greet Obama when he reaches Moneygall.
He says he will tell him that not far from Moneygall he and several businessmen are intent on building an exact replica of the White House as part of a new casino, racetrack and leisure center.
Quite what Obama will make of a fake White House being built by a politician widely regarded as the most corrupt in Ireland is not known.
It may well be that Obama’s handlers will try and keep him away from Lowry but the Tipperary politician has a dogged ability to make himself heard.
It could get very interesting down Moneygall way on May 23rd.