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Obama visits Ireland

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Obama visits Ireland
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President Obama is on the first leg of a week-long European tour, with stops in the UK, France and Poland. Today he is in Ireland.

Meetings with his Irish counterpart Mary McAleese and with Prime Minister Enda Kenny will form part of his visit. After Ireland, Obama has a dinner invitation from Queen Elizabeth, a Group of Eight summit and then will see leaders from eastern Europe.

The president’s name has had an affectionate make-over here. Some people are spelling it ‘O-apostrophe-Bama’: O’Bama. Thirty-seven million Americans claim Irish ancestry, and he is one of them.

He will be going to Moneygall, a small town where his great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, was born. He was a shoemaker.

Even residents need a ticket to see the president.

He is expected to be supportive of efforts to help Ireland, heavily indebted and struggling with IMF and EU bailout austerity conditions.

He is to give a speech later this evening.

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