Ahern in US at start of four-day visit
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is in New York today as part of a four-day St Patrick's week visit to the United States during which he will present the traditional bowl of shamrock to President George Bush at the White House.
Mr Ahern is due to attend a number of functions in New York today before travelling to Washington DC in the evening. He will return home on Friday evening and will be in Dublin for St Patrick's Day.
The Taoiseach's programme begins this morning with a breakfast involving representatives of the financial services sector in New York and afterwards he will attend a meeting with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.
Later in the morning he will meet United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and will then visit the Ground Zero memorial in lower Manhattan.
Mr Ahern will then address the Council on Foreign Relations about the position in Northern Ireland and will then do a television interview.
The Taoiseach and his entourage will then travel to Washington DC tomorrow evening, where he will attend the American-Ireland Fund National Gala.
Tomorrow, Mr Ahern will have a series of meetings on Capitol Hill, including talks with Ms Clinton, Senator Edward Kennedy and the Friends of Ireland Group in Congress.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, will host a lunch for Mr Ahern on Capitol Hill and it will also be attended by Mr Bush. After a further series of meetings in the afternoon the Taoiseach will attend a St Patrick's Day reception at the Irish Embassy.
The presentation of the bowl of shamrock to Mr Bush will take place in the White House on Friday morning.
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