President Obama is set to visit Ireland in late May, a senior White House source has apparently confirmed.
As first disclosed on Irish Central last week, the Obama White House is anxious to visit Ireland in May, and to set out the president’s credentials to Irish Americans prior to next year’s presidential election.
“The end of May is likely,” the White House official told “The Irish Times,” adding that the aim was for Obama to arrive in Ireland before his U.K. visit which is scheduled from May 24-26.
After that he travels to France for the G8 summit on May 26 and 27.
Obama still has to receive an official invitation from the new Irish government, which is expected to be offered right after the government takes office on March 9.
This week the likely new Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny met with U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney in Dublin, and the visit was discussed.
Irish Central has learned that leading Irish Americans have been asked for their opinion on the visit, and asked to support it if it takes place.
Officials at the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Embassy in Dublin remained tight-lipped about the visit, however.
“I would welcome a visit one day from President Obama. However, I have no confirmation on timing,” said Rooney.
One problem remains – the historic first state visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland, the timing of which has not been completely decided upon.
Therefore, the incoming prime minister could be faced with a state visit from the Queen, and the first visit to Ireland from Obama.
The Obama administration is well aware that there is a critical Irish American vote in several key states, such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Vice President Joe Biden, who is of Irish extraction, was chosen as Obama’s running mate in part to appeal to the working class ethnic vote.