Barack Obama has expressed surprise that Ireland is only now introducing a household tax.
The US president found out about the controversial levy while chatting with his Irish cousin eight times removed, Henry Healy.
Mr Obama invited his cousin, and other distant family relatives whom he first met in Moneygall, Co Offaly, during his 10-hour stopover last May, to visit him in Washington DC for St Patrick’s Day.
The party went to The Dubliner, an Irish pub in the US capital, to celebrate the national day with a pint of Guinness and the subject of the tax came up on the way to the venue.
“He asked questions about how people are dealing with the austerity and we mentioned the household charge is being brought in and there is resistance to it.
“He was surprised that Irish people had not been paying for the services before.
“He said here in the US that’s all collected at local level and you get a good service for it.
“He didn’t comment on whether people should pay it or not,” Mr Healy told Newstalk Breakfast.
Mr Healy was given a guided tour of the White House, with the only part off limits to him being the military and security nerve centre called the Situation Room.
Mr Obama is the great-great-great-grandson of Famine-period emigrant Falmouth Kearney.
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