This man could rejuvenate Ireland (and it’s not the one on the right)

The future leader of the world’s most populous nation is due to get the royal treatment when he arrives on a three-day visit to Ireland today.

Our traditional 100,000 welcomes will hardly be enough to greet the man destined to lead 1.4bn people, but a Riverdance performance, a Gaelic games spectacle, a banquet at Bunratty and dinner at Dublin Castle are among the treats in store for Chinese vice-president Xi Jinping.

The man set to become president of China and chairman of the Communist Party arrives in Shannon this afternoon from the US where he has spent the past week.

Shortly after his arrival, Mr Xi will tour Shannon Development, and tonight he will be guest of honour at a dinner hosted by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore at Bunratty Castle.

Mr Gilmore has said he will raise the issue of human rights with Mr Xi, but discussions will concentrate on the development of trade and investment between the two countries.

Tomorrow morning, Mr Xi, who was last in Ireland in 2005, will visit the farm of James and Maura Lynch at Sixmilebridge in Co Clare to see at first hand their herd of Friesian dairy cows and beef cattle.

The couple went to China in November as part of an Irish agricultural trade mission. The future president will also take in the sights at the Cliffs of Moher.

From there he will travel to Dublin for a demonstration of hurling and Gaelic football at Croke Park, followed by talks and dinner with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Dublin Castle. The evening ends with a special performance of Riverdance at Belvedere College.

During his stay, he will also pay a courtesy call on President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin and lead a delegation to the Ireland-China Trade and Investment Forum at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham. On Monday he will fly to Turkey on the last leg of a three-nation tour.

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