White House invite for Kenny to celebrate St Patrick’s Day
US President Barack Obama has personally invited Ireland's new Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the White House for St Patrick's Day.
Mr Obama placed a seven-minute planned telephone call to Mr Kenny and congratulated him on his election victory, an Irish government spokesman said.
The Irish premier was in Brussels attending his first summit of EU heads of state since taking office, with Libya and the Eurozone crisis dominating proceedings.
Mr Kenny told Mr Obama that he was in Denver for the US President’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination in 2008, as well as reminding him of the standing invitation to visit Ireland.
President Obama spoke of the amount of Irish people on his White House staff.
Mr Kenny, leader of the centre-right Fine Gael party, is due to hold meetings with senior figures from both the US administration and Congress during his Washington DC visit, including vice-President Joe Biden and House speaker John Boehner.
The Taoiseach yesterday also announced a scaled-down exodus of Irish cabinet members overseas for St Patrick's Day celebrations, with nine travelling abroad to France, Italy, the UK, Germany, the US, India, New Zealand and Australia.
Mr Kenny said building Ireland's reputation abroad was one of his key objectives.