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Thousands to take part in parade

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will celebrate his first St Patrick's Day in office at The White House with US President Barack Obama as thousands throng Dublin for the world-famous parade.

Mr Kenny will have breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden before holding talks with the President where he will present him with the traditional bowl of shamrocks.

The Taoiseach, who was appointed to office on Wednesday last week, will then attend the Speaker's Lunch on Capitol Hill, hosted by the new speaker Republican John Boehner.

On Wednesday Mr Kenny held talks with the Treasury Secretary in Washington DC where he outlined his Government's plans for economic reform and determination to reduce the budget deficit and reform the banking system.

Meanwhile, in Ireland hundreds of thousands of people will mark the national day at events in towns and villages across the country.

World boxing champion and Olympic medal hopeful Katie Taylor will lead the green army through the streets of Dublin as she takes the role of Grand Marshal in the world- famous parade, which kicks off at noon.

Over 3,000 people will take part in the three kilometre parade. For the first time ever a short story will be the inspiration behind the parade, with Brilliant by Roddy Doyle chosen for the honour.

It was chosen to honour Dublin's designation as a Unesco City of Literature and Ireland's leading pageant companies will interpret different chapters of the story.

Marching bands from Spain, France and the USA will woo the tens of thousands expected to line the route of the parade through central Dublin, with organisers hoping for clear sunny skies to see in the festivities.

The festival is not only seen as a cultural opportunity but a chance to capitalise on the national day, with the Festival providing an estimated return of 50.5 million euro to the economy in spending by tourists and Dubliners.


From Belfast Telegraph