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President Obama to walk on a little piece of Ulster

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has been awarded a £350,000 contract by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to deliver debt advice in district councils across Northern Ireland over the next year.

AMERICAN president Barack Obama will not be setting foot on Ulster soil when he visits Ireland next month - but he will be stepping on an Ulster Carpet.

The Portadown-based firm was called upon by members of the historic Templeharry Church in Moneygall, Co Offaly, where the president's ancestors once prayed, to give the small church - and its world famous visitor - the red carpet treatment.

Paint firm Dulux has also supplied gallons of paint so that residents can spruce up their homes.

The tiny village of Moneygall has a population of just 300 and was once home to Obama's maternal great, great, great grandfather, who left for a new life in America in 1851.

Obama's links to Moneygall were uncovered by the Rev Stephen Neill, Rector of Templeharry, who unearthed parish records showing that the president's relatives once worshipped in his church.

He said it was important that a local company provided the five-star floor covering. "Everyone in the village is so excited at the prospect of President Obama coming here and we're doing everything we can to make the place as lovely as possible for his visit.

"It is especially significant that he'll be back in the church where his ancestors once prayed many years ago," he said.

"We're delighted at Ulster Carpets' generosity and very much looking forward to getting the carpet fitted.

"It is especially pleasing that the carpet was made in Ireland.

"This is part of a makeover which the entire village is getting - Dulux have also provided every household with paint so we can spruce the place up for him."

Joyce McIvor, Ulster Carpets' contract sales manager for Ireland, revealed the president is no stranger to the firm's products.

"When we were approached by the church we were happy to help this community celebrate their historic event," she said.

"President Obama has walked on an Ulster Carpet before.

"The Washington DC Convention Centre and the Washington DC Hilton hotel, which were both venues during his inauguration, were carpeted by Ulster Carpets.

"The church chose a beautiful deep red from our woven York Wilton range.

"It's appropriate for a church, but also for a president," she added.