A shop in Moneygall is selling Obama t-shirts ahead of the visit. Matt Dunham/AP/Press Association Images
Obama in Ireland

Final preparations for Obama arrival which could help Ireland's bailout cause

With a day to go before Barack Obama touches down in Dublin, one newspaper speculates that he could even help Ireland’s campaign for a cut on its bailout interest rate but others aren’t so impressed by the arrival of the US president.

FINAL PREPARATIONS ARE underway for the visit of US president Barack Obama who will arrive in Ireland at around 10am tomorrow morning as it is reported his visit could even aid Ireland’s campaign for a cut in the interest rate on its EU/IMF bailout.

The Sunday Times (subscription) reports that American officials and senior Irish government figures believe that Ireland will have to support of the president to secure a better deal particularly as Obama will meet with French president Nicolas Sarkozy, an opponent of Ireland’s low corporation tax rate, later in the week.

Efforts are also underway to upgrade the status of Obama’s meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Farmleigh to an official bilateral meeting which would facilitate an “in-depth” discussion on matters such as the economy, trade and finance, according to the Sunday Business Post.

The paper says such a move would be a major boost as Ireland comes under pressure on the economy.

The country is already afforded an annual bilateral meeting on St Patrick’s Day – the only country in the world to benefit from this.

Meanwhile, preparations are entering their final stages today for the visit of Obama to Dublin and his ancestral home of Moneygall on Co Offaly.

Gardaí have issued details of the traffic and travel restrictions in place across Dublin city centre ahead of the rally to be held on College Green where workers have been constructing the stage from which Obama will deliver an address on the US-Irish relationship.

Ahead of the arrival of the 44th president of the United States, massive US aircraft have arrived in Dublin carrying the limousines, helicopters and jeeps that will transport the presidential entourage, RTÉ reports.

That entourage is numbered at some 1,500 people between political aides, a White House medical team, personal chefs and Secret Service agents according to the Sunday Times (subscription).

According to the paper, two advance teams will already have arrived in Ireland to assess the locations and carry out checks that include dogs sniffing for explosives, installing chemical, biological and radiological sensors, adding bullet proof and glass webbing to windows, sweeping for electronic bugs and measuring air quality for bacteria.

The so-called ‘football’, the black briefcase carrying the nuclear launch codes is also likely to be in Ireland whilst Obama is.

But one person who appears totally unimpressed by it all is Mary Murray, a resident of Moneygall, who has told the Irish Mail on Sunday that Obama can “stick” his whistle stop tour of the town that was home to his ancestors.

Murray has refused to paint her house or spruce it up ahead of the visit, in sharp contrast to everyone else in Moneygall who appear to have got into the mood by giving the house a lick of paint and the shrubs a trim amongst other things.

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