Obama’s Irish plans start to emerge

SPECULATION is mounting that Barack Obama is set to raise the issue of immigration reform in America and the case of Irish workers there when he visits Ireland.

With plans being finalised for the US President’s one-day visit here next Monday, details of his closely guarded itinerary have started to emerge.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter yesterday insisted that huge security costs for the visit would not affect ongoing funds for gardaí during the year.

It is now almost certain Obama’s main speech to the Irish public will be in Dublin’s city centre on Monday evening.

Security officials are still deciding between a staged event for tens of thousands of people at College Green or on O’Connell Street.

Reports from the US last night suggested Mr Obama may use the public rally as an opportunity to raise the issue of immigration reform in America, which affects tens of thousands of Irish people there.

According to Niall O’Dowd’s Irish Central website, Mr Obama’s speech is expected to last 15 to 20 minutes and will be preceded by a concert at 5pm.

US and Government officials are still remaining tightlipped about the exact plans for the visit.

It is almost certain that after Mr Obama arrives in Dublin aboard Air Force One on Monday morning, he and his wife, Michelle, will meet President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin as well as Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his Cabinet at Farmleigh.

After a visit to US ambassador Dan Rooney’s residence, Mr Obama is set to travel to his ancestral home in Co Offaly, before returning to Dublin for the outdoor rally.

Up to 3,000 tickets are due to be issued today for the visit of President Obama and his wife to Moneygall. The tickets will be distributed, to locals and invited guests only, at the old schoolhouse in Moneygall from 10am to 4pm.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Alan Shatter has pledged that garda funds will not be hit by the millions of euro being spent on security for the visits of Mr Obama and the queen.

He told the Dáil: “When both visits are complete, we will assess the costs incurred and these will be factored, financially, into how matters develop in the coming year.

“These visits will not impact on the capacity of the garda to properly conduct its duties during the rest of the year.”


Denise O’Donoghue checks in with several expats affected by the cancellation of shows in BritainIrish actors on the crisis the West End theatre industry faces

This month marks four decades since the release of the classic record that would also be Ian Curtis’s final album with Joy Division. Ed Power chats to a number of Cork music fans about what it meant to themJoy Division: Forty years on from Closer

Last week, I shared my lockdown experience. I asked for a more uniform approach, should there be another lockdown. I explained that I worked mornings. Maybe I should have been more specific: working 8am to 1pm without a break, I gave feedback and covered the curriculum, using our school’s online platform. In the afternoons, I looked after my three kids (all under ten) while my husband worked. It was a challenging time for everyone and the uncertainty around what I should have been doing as a teacher made it harder.Diary of an Irish teacher: I want to get back to work. But I would like to do it safely

To get a pint under Covid-19 restrictions, we have to buy a ‘substantial meal’, but drinkers in 1900s New York contended with all kinds of regulations and loopholes, writes Donal O’KeeffeIt Raines and pours: Buying a sandwich to have a beer isn't a new phenomenon

More From The Irish Examiner