Obama, lawmakers bring Irish culture to US

March 19, 2013 • National News

President Barack Obama stands with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio after they attended a Friends of Ireland luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and top lawmakers brought a wee bit of Ireland to Washington, donning green ties and a festive mood in a belated celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Shamrock in his jacket pocket, Obama hosted Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny for a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday — two days after the official holiday, which fell on a Sunday this year. “It also gives us an excuse to stretch out St. Patrick’s Day for a couple of extra days,” he said.

Saluting the close U.S.-Ireland relationship and the contributions of Irish Americans, Obama praised Kenny’s leadership through difficult economic times and said improvements in their economy helps in trade with the United States.

He met separately at the White House with the joint Protestant and Catholic leaders of neighboring Northern Ireland’s unity government, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

At the Capitol, lawmakers hosted Kenny and Obama for an annual luncheon marking St. Patrick’s Day, replete with bagpipes, green-and-white flowers and Guinness beer.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sat between Obama and Kenny, and wiped away a tear after singer Anthony Kearns of Login to read more

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