herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

North on the agenda for Kenny and Obama talks

President Barack Obama, right, and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, left, hold up a bowl of shamrocks during a reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2015
President Barack Obama, right, and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, left, hold up a bowl of shamrocks during a reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2015

THE White House fountain ran green as Taoiseach Enda Kenny was welcomed to the White House yesterday.

In keeping with tradition shamrock was handed over to US President Barack Omama. But there were more serious matters to discuss as Mr Kenny renewed his calls for the North’s political parties to “sort out” the current impasse over welfare reform.

Mr Kenny yesterday briefed US President Barack Obama on the crucial Stormont Agreement.

“He (President Obama) expressed his understanding that there is a bit of an obstacle here. But I explained to him that this can be dealt with,” Mr Kenny said afterwards

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams also had engagements in Washington. While his party rejected claims that the party had been “snubbed” over the crisis, sources maintained that the US administration is “not impressed” over their withdrawal of support for the welfare measures.

Mr Kenny also raised the issues of the tens of thousands of undocumented Irish living in the US with Mr Obama, expressing disappointment that efforts to introduce immigration reform have stalled.

Mr Obama, who spoke of his “fond memories” of visiting Ireland in 2011, acknowledged the Taoiseach’s concern about the need to deal with the undocumented but said his hands are currently tied due to legal barriers.

hnews@herald.ie

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