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High anticipation ahead of US President`s visit

Last update - Sunday, May 15, 2011, 16:37 By Chinedu Onyejelem

As the Irish Government prepares to receive President Barack Obama on his first official visit to the State, hundreds of thousands of people are hoping they’ll get a lifetime opportunity to see him in person.


Speaking in the Dáil earlier this week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the itinerary for the President and his First Lady Michelle Obama includes a visit to his ancestral home of Moneygall in Co Offaly.

The Taoiseach said the first black American leader would also meet President Mary McAleese and speak at an exclusive entertainment-style gathering in a Dublin venue yet to be announced.

At press time, US government officials and security personnel had arrived in Dublin to finalise arrangements for his visit.

Among those who are anxiously hoping to see President Obama, the son of a Kenyan man, are diverse members of Ireland’s immigrant community.

On Saturday 14 May, the African Students Association of Ireland (ASAI) called a meeting of its members and leaders in the African community aimed at establishing an official representation on the occasion of the visit.

In the circular for the meeting which was made available to Metro Éireann, Dr Bonnix Kayabu, secretary of the association’s African affairs department, also indicated that it was planning “a big celebration” to mark President Obama’s arrival.

Sergey Tarutin – publisher of Nasha Gazeta, a Russian newspaper in Ireland – said that although the Russian people were currently “talking more about the death of Osama bin Laden than the visit of President Obama, there are quite many people who are interested in seeing him live.”

Asked what would be on his wish list for the visiting president, Tarutin said he hoped that Obama, and “America, the greatest financial backer of Ireland, would help Ireland bring more foreign investment and more high-worth Americans that could help Ireland move on.”



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