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US President Barack Obama speaks during a Friends of Ireland Lunch at the US Capitol with the Taoiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen in attendance on March 17, 2010 in Washington, DC

US President Barack Obama speaks during a Friends of Ireland Lunch at the US Capitol with the Taoiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen in attendance on March 17, 2010 in Washington, DC

President Barack Obama talking to First Minister Peter Robinson (second left) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (left) during their meeting in the Roosevelt Room, White House, Washington. Also included are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and vice President of the United States, Joe Biden

President Barack Obama talking to First Minister Peter Robinson (second left) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (left) during their meeting in the Roosevelt Room, White House, Washington. Also included are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and vice President of the United States, Joe Biden

The South Lawn Fountain is dyed green in honor of St. Patrick's Day at the White House March 17, 2010 in Washington DC

The South Lawn Fountain is dyed green in honor of St. Patrick's Day at the White House March 17, 2010 in Washington DC

St Patrick's Day 2010: Taoiseach Brian Cowen in Washington DC

St Patrick's Day 2010: Taoiseach Brian Cowen in Washington DC

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Armagh

St Patrick's Day 2010: Armagh

St Patrick's Day 2010: Armagh

St Patrick's Day 2010: Armagh

Flashback .... St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

Flashback .... St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast

St Patrick's Day 2010: Dublin

St Patrick's Day 2010: Dublin

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

St Patrick's Day 2010: London

Sydney Opera House in Australia turned green to celebrate St Patrick's Day

Sydney Opera House in Australia turned green to celebrate St Patrick's Day

Irish Wolfhound dogs with their owners march during the Brisbane, Australia St. Patrick's Day Parade in the Brisbane CBD

Irish Wolfhound dogs with their owners march during the Brisbane, Australia St. Patrick's Day Parade in the Brisbane CBD

Thousands of spectators watch as the Chicago River is dyed green prior to the annual St. Patrick's Day parade

Thousands of spectators watch as the Chicago River is dyed green prior to the annual St. Patrick's Day parade

Spectators watch as the Chicago River is dyed green prior to the annual St. Patrick's Day parade

Spectators watch as the Chicago River is dyed green prior to the annual St. Patrick's Day parade

Spectators react as they brave rain and 40 degree temperatures to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago

Spectators react as they brave rain and 40 degree temperatures to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago

Revelers prepare to march in the 249th annual St. Patrick's Day parade March 17, 2010 in New York City

Revelers prepare to march in the 249th annual St. Patrick's Day parade March 17, 2010 in New York City

A band marches in the 249th annual St. Patrick's Day parade March 17, 2010 in New York City

A band marches in the 249th annual St. Patrick's Day parade March 17, 2010 in New York City

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg marches in the 249th annual St. Patrick's Day parade March 17, 2010 in New York City

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg marches in the 249th annual St. Patrick's Day parade March 17, 2010 in New York City

A painting of Saint Patrick is seen outside Saint Patrick's Cathedral during the 249th annual St. Patrick's Day parade March 17, 2010 in New York City

A painting of Saint Patrick is seen outside Saint Patrick's Cathedral during the 249th annual St. Patrick's Day parade March 17, 2010 in New York City

A Marlins fan watches the the Atlanta Braves take on the Florida Marlins on St. Patrick's Day at Roger Dean Stadium on March 17, 2010 in Jupiter, Florida

A Marlins fan watches the the Atlanta Braves take on the Florida Marlins on St. Patrick's Day at Roger Dean Stadium on March 17, 2010 in Jupiter, Florida

US President Barack Obama speaks during a Friends of Ireland Lunch at the US Capitol with the Taoiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen in attendance on March 17, 2010 in Washington, DC

Barack Obama made a St Patrick’s Day pledge that America will remain “as supportive as possible in advancing the Northern Ireland peace process”.

However, the US President was more cagey when asked by a reporter if he would be visiting Ireland.

Speaking yesterday after Taoiseach Brian Cowen presented the President with the traditional bowl of shamrocks at a White House ceremony, Mr Obama simply replied: “I would love to be going to Ireland.”

Later, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness did the rounds in Washington, talking up recent political advances during a series of meetings with American politicians and business leaders.

After attending a breakfast hosted by the Northern Ireland Bureau at the US Chamber of Commerce, the First and Deputy First Ministers headed to the White House. Unlike previous years, yesterday’s event was a formal meeting at which Obama was present throughout.

Afterwards Mr Robinson said that the President had “outlined his support for the transfer of policing and justice powers and discussed his government’s continued involvement in the economic development of Northern Ireland”.

Mr McGuinness added: “The Obama administration has always provided us with its full backing as we worked towards building a stable political foundation in the North of Ireland, and on that foundation we intend to fashion further economic and social progress.”

Belfast Telegraph