President touts America’s “extraordinarily strong” relationship with Ireland in Thursday bilat with PM Kenny, says U.S. will provide “any assistance we can” to boost Irish economy. And: Announces he’ll visit Ireland in May.

Pool Report:

President Obama welcomed Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny this morning and
announced he would visit Ireland in May. Obama also said he would make a
statement later about Japan.

“There is just an incredible bond between our two countries,” POTUS said
from the Oval Office. “And that’s one that we want to reaffirm here today.”

He said he and Eddy had an “excellent conversation” how Ireland will be
“bouncing back” from its severe economic problems.

POTUS thanked Eddy for help with the effort in Afghanistan and for work on
issues such as international food security. “Overall, the state of the
relationship of our two countries is extraordinarily strong. This is a
wonderful tradition … St. Patrick’s Day, for me to be able to once again
reaffirm the great warmth and affection that have towards the people in

Obama said his visit to Ireland in May would include the usual tourist
sites but that he also would seek the roots of his “great, great, great,
great, great grandfather.”

Eddy, dressed in dark suit and green tie, returned the kind words. “Ireland
is open for business,” he said.

Off to the Capitol. More from Eddy in next report.

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