I've always wondered what happens to the shamrock that the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen will present to President Barack Obama at the White House today.

According to a report in CNN today, it goes straight to the crusher.

Uhuh. That little bowl of shamrock, the "enduring symbol" of the relationship between Ireland and the U.S. is destroyed after making the long trip from Ireland.

CNN says White House security protocol dictates that any "food, drink or plant presented to the president be 'handled pursuant to Secret Service policy'."

As CNN points out that's "Secret Service-speak for destroyed."

There's no word as to what the Obamas will do with the crystal bowls.

Ronald Reagan used his for jelly beans while Bill Clinton put them on display in the White House.

Either way, it's great to see the Obamas continue this tradition of Irish access to the U.S.

With the Irish economy in meltdown and thousands looking for opportunities outside Ireland, we need our friends more than ever.

But any chance ye could spare the shamrock lads?

Beannachtai na Feile Padraig!