13/03/2007 - 13:56:51
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will present the traditional bowl of shamrock to US president George Bush in the White House on Friday.
In a three-day visit to Washington and New York, Bertie Ahern will also meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and US presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton. He will brief members of the Ireland-US Economic Advisory Board on the situation in the North and on the Irish economy.
In New York, the Taoiseach will attend a breakfast meeting with the international financial services industry.
He will also hold talks with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and make a keynote address to the influential Council on Foreign Relations.Later he will visit the Twin Towers Memorial Centre in downtown New York.
Meetings with Senator Clinton and the Friends of Ireland Group in Congress on Capitol Hill are also included on the busy agenda.Mr Ahern, who will be accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, is also invited to the Speaker’s Lunch, which Mr Bush is also expected to attend.
On Friday, the Taoiseach will participate in the traditional Shamrock Ceremony in the White House.A spokesman added: “Mr Ahern and President Bush will meet in the Oval Office for exchanges on Northern Ireland, immigration reform and a range of current international issues, including climate change.”
The Taoiseach and 27 senior and junior ministers will be abroad in coming days to attend St Patrick’s Day events and to meet Irish communities and business groups.
Tánaiste Michael McDowell is representing the Government in the state of Georgia where he will attend business and Irish community events in Savannah, including the St Patrick’s Day parade, which is the fourth biggest in the United States.