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Bono backs ballot on billion-bucks bailout

The U2 frontman says the Irish should be given a vote on the EU-IMF package – and complains about being snubbed by Obama.

Bono and Barack Obama attend an event held by George Bush in 2006. Bono has spoken of how the President essentially ignored him at a dinner in the latest Hot Press.
Bono and Barack Obama attend an event held by George Bush in 2006. Bono has spoken of how the President essentially ignored him at a dinner in the latest Hot Press.
Image: RON EDMONDS/AP

U2 FRONTMAN BONO has backed calls for the Irish public to be given a vote on whether to support the EU-IMF bailout – in an interview in which he also complains about being virtually snubbed by Barack Obama at a dinner.

In a wide-ranging interview with Hot Press, published today, the influential singer-cum-lobbyist says having to accept a bailout is an “affront” to Irish people and should be put to a plebiscite election.

Having to take on the debts of private enterprise is “an affront – that is an injustice to the Irish people,” he tells Olaf Tyaransen.

“It would be a very sophisticated thing indeed should the Irish people demand a chance to debate and argue, and finally decide themselves, on what will in the end be a decision that will affect their children and grandchildren.”

In an interview timed to coincide with the visit of President Barack Obama next week, Bono – who performed with U2 at the president’s inauguration in January 2009 – also discusses how he was essentially snubbed by the President after he invited him to a dinner.

I remember the first half of the dinner the two of them [Obama and former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice] kind of talking politely through me – and then the second half of the dinner, it was like I wasn’t there.

“They were just kind of sharing and swapping ideas.”

Bono – who has met successive presidents through his political lobbying, seeking the forgiveness of third world debt – also discusses Obama’s use of technology, and expresses his hope that Obama would be able to visit the Dublin headquarters of Google and Facebook.

“He’s the BlackBerry President and he gets technology… I hope that they’re going to spend some time introducing him to the representatives of the wealth of technological geniuses – genii* – that we have here.

“He’s on Facebook. He’s on Google. I worked personally quite hard to get Google to choose Ireland as their headquarters outside of America and I’m very proud of it being here – and Facebook now.”

‘Bono on Obama’ is in the latest Hot Press, out today >

* The use of the plural ‘genii’ to refer to a ‘genius’ is controversial.

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Gavan Reilly

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