Obama unlikely to travel to Leeside due to time constraints

HOPES that US President Barack Obama will visit Cork this month are fading fast.

It follows confirmation from Taoiseach Enda Kenny that Mr Obama will definitely make a public address in Dublin as part of his whirlwind visit to Ireland on Monday, May 23.

Although details of the itinerary are still being finalised, Mr Kenny said Mr Obama would meet with the President in the Áras, visit his ancestral home in Moneygall, Co Offaly, and speak at a public event in Dublin.

An advance team from the US is expected in Dublin today to discuss the final details.

Hopes that Mr Obama would visit Cork were boosted in March when he mentioned his political hero Frederick Douglass, the black human rights activist and anti-slave campaigner, during his St Patrick’s Day White House address.

But key figures who issued the invitation to Mr Obama to open a Frederick Douglass lecture series at University College Cork (UCC) have privately accepted that Cork will not now at this late stage be included in his itinerary.

Fine Gael’s Deputy Dara Murphy, who helped spearhead the initiative, said he hasn’t thrown in the towel yet. But he accepted that it was looking increasingly unlikely.

“It was a very strong proposal which was highly regarded by US Embassy officials and by several senior and very influential political figures in Washington,” he said.

“But it appears to have fallen victim to the President’s very tight schedule in Ireland.”

Mr Obama will arrive in Dublin early on May 23 before flying onto Britain the following morning.

However, Mr Obama is expected to make reference to Douglass, who during his visit to Ireland in 1845 struck up a friendship with Daniel O’Connell, during one of his speeches in Dublin — possibly at Glasnevin cemetery where O’Connell is buried.

Mr Murphy said there is an open invitation to Mr Obama to return to what will be an annual Frederick Douglass lecture series at any stage in the future.


Lifestyle

Conservationist Giles Clark takes on the illegal wildlife trade, as well as the task of building a bear sanctuary in Laos, South-east Asia, in BBC Two series Bears About The House.Five minutes with ... Giles Clark

Forget G-spots. Let's focus on the C-spot and close the orgasm gap once and for all.Sex File: The G-spot is dead. Long live the C-spot

Workshop leaders from the West Cork Literary Festival offer tips for writing in areas such as biography, short stories and travel, writes Des O’DriscollSo you want to be a writer?

'He told us we were so scared of dying, we forgot how to live” - Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment is this week's podcast pickPodcast Corner: Guru tells of sweat-lodge tragedy and James Arthur Ray

More From The Irish Examiner