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No room for Croker in Obama's flying visit

Reports of the itinerary for President Obama’s visit show limited travel plans with little more than 24 hours in Ireland.

There'll be no time for footballs of any shape during President Obama's visit, according to a report this morning.
There'll be no time for footballs of any shape during President Obama's visit, according to a report this morning.
Image: Charles Dharapak/AP

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA will not be giving a public address in Croke Park during his visit to Ireland in a fortnight’s time, according to a report of his tour itinerary – which suggests he will spend little more than 24 hours here.

IrishCentral.com’s report suggests that security fears have meant the abandonment of the Croke Park plans, though a window remains open for a ‘public event’ in Dublin at some other point during his flying visit.

Obama is set to arrive in Dublin at 9:30am on the morning of Monday 23 May, being greeted upon arrival by Taoiseach Enda Kenny who will then bring him to Áras an Úachtaráin for a formal reception with President McAleese.

Obama will then meet the rest of the cabinet at Farmleigh before travelling to Moneygall in Co Offaly to visit the ancestral roots of his ancestor Fulmouth Kearney.

After returning to Dublin for a public address at an as-yet-undecided location, Obama will then return to the Phoenix Park where he will stay overnight at the residence of American ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney.

Business breakfast

IrishCentral.com’s Niall O’Dowd said it had not yet been decided whether an event would be held on the Tuesday morning before Obama is due to tour the UK for two days, ahead of a G8 summit in France.

The most likely event to take place at that point, the report said, was a business breakfast.

Among the possible venues for the Dublin address are College Green, where Obama’s predecessor Bill Clinton gave a public address during a visit in 1995.

College Green has also played host to other major public events in the past – such as homecomings for World Cup teams and the visit of Nelson Mandela in 1990.

O’Dowd also asserted that Irish efforts were continuing to try and bring Obama to Ireland a day earlier, giving him time to see more of the country.

If he can be convinced to travel on the Sunday, Obama’s itinerary could be switched to allow him play a round of golf with Enda Kenny on the Monday afternoon.

Despite the concerns over the security of Croke Park, the venue is still set to host a visit by Queen Elizabeth in the days before Obama’s visit.

Both the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and justice minister Alan Shatter have assured the public that comprehensive security will be put in place for both visits.

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Gavan Reilly

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