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Sláinte Mr President... Charles Dharapak/AP/Press Association Images

Barack O'Bama launches Irish-American Heritage Month

Apparently it’s an annual thing…

US PRESIDENT BARACK Obama or Barack O’Bama, as he has become known to some on these shores, has declared March 2012 as Irish-American Heritage Month.

In what is apparently an annual event, the president has published a proclamation on the White House website which declares that this month the relationship between Ireland and America and the heritage of the Irish-American community will be celebrated. reports that there will be St Patrick’s Day Parades – presumably on 17 March – family gatherings, a bit of Mass, dances and other community events across the US.

In an at times cheesy proclamation Obama – who visited Ireland last year – says:

Over hundreds of years, Irish men, women, and children left the homes of their ancestors, watching the coasts of Donegal and the cliffs of Dingle fade behind them. Boarding overcrowded ships and navigating dangerous seas, these resilient travelers looked to the horizon with hope in their hearts.

The 44th president of the US, whose ancestors hailed from the Offaly town of Moneygall, adds:

Defying famine, poverty, and discrimination, these sons and daughters of Erin demonstrated extraordinary strength and unshakable faith as they gave their all to help build an America worthy of the journey they and so many others have taken.

You can read the proclamation in all its glory here.

“I finished the pint, so if anybody asks!” – a behind the scenes look at Obama’s Ireland visit

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