Taoiseach: Obama intends to visit Republic of Ireland again

US President Barack Obama has told Taoiseach Enda Kenny that he would like to make a return visit to the Republic of Ireland.

President Obama is set to visit the North this year when he attends the G8 Summit at the Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh on June 17-18.

"Will President Obama visit the Republic after the G8? His schedule is very complicated at the moment," said the Taoiseach, speaking on the White House front lawn.

"What we agreed is that there is a standing invitation to the President, to his First Lady, to his family, to come to Ireland whenever it's appropriate and whenever it's convenient.

"I can say to that he has re-affirmed that it is his intention to come back to Ireland. He enjoyed his last visit very much indeed."

Mr Obama travelled to Ireland in May 2011. His trip included a visit to the birthplace of his ancestors in Moneygall, Co Offaly.

Today, he and Mr Kenny held bi-lateral talks in the Oval Office, where EU-US trade talks were high on the agenda. Ireland is almost half-way through its six-month term as president of the European Union.

Mr Kenny was later due to present President Obama with a bowl of shamrock at the White House St Patrick’s Day reception.

The president added that the US stood to gain from Ireland’s economic recovery.

“The Taoiseach has shown great leadership during the difficult times in Ireland and we’re seeing progress in the Irish economy,” Mr Obama said.

“That’s good for the US economy because we have a lot of trade, a lot of investment in Ireland. There was a story this morning about a deal between Ryanair and Boeing in which we’ll be selling a lot of airplanes to Ireland.

“It’s an example of how the progress that is made in Ireland benefits jobs and businesses here in the US.”

The Taoiseach spent the weekend in New York for its annual St Patrick’s Day parade.

He travelled to Washington for his meetings with the president and is due to visit the west Coast later in the week.

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