Category: Archive

Presidential Visit?

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Susan Falvella-Garraty and Ray O’Hanlon WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House is looking at the possibility of a visit to Ireland by President Bush in mid to late summer. However, no firm plans have yet been set in place and the situation in the North will have a direct bearing on whether a Bush landfall on Irish soil takes place. President Bush has a standing invitation to visit the Republic from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. That invitation is likely to be repeated when Ahern meets Bush in the White House for the annual presentation of shamrock, which will take place this year on Wednesday, March 13. The visit to Ireland would be twinned with a visit by the president to Britain. A senior White House official has confirmed to the Echo that the Bush administration is now looking at a summer visit to both Ireland and Britain that would likely include the North. “We are looking forward to it,” the official said. The official indicated that the Bush administration wanted to see a presidential visit to Ireland so that Bush could acknowledge “the emotional support” and assistance given by Ireland, both in its own right and within the context of the United Nations, in the aftermath of Sept. 11. U.S.-based Irish and British officials are expecting a Bush visit at some point but have so far not been given any firm dates by the White House. A presidential visit to Ireland this year would give GOP candidates in the November midterm elections a potential boost in the eyes of Irish-American voters. President Bush would be the second GOP president to make an official visit to Ireland during his term of office, the first having been President Reagan in 1984. President Nixon paid a private visit to Ireland in 1970, during which he traced his Irish Quaker ancestors to County Laois.

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