Moneygall gears up for Obama visit

MONEYGALL will have the street party to beat all street parties on Monday May 23, with or without Barack Obama!

MONEYGALL will have the street party to beat all street parties on Monday May 23, with or without Barack Obama!

The White House has yet to confirm the date of President Obama’s visit to his ancestral home with a spokesperson for the American Embassy saying the date was not likely to be confirmed until a few days before he arrives.

However, Offaly County Council has made arrangements that celebrations will take place on May 23 one way or the other.

A contentious issue that has come to light is that of ticket allocation. Shinrone Councillor Peter Ormond said locals were distressed to learn how the tickets are being allocated by Offaly County Council.

“There will be roughly 5,000 tickets issued. Local people are to get 1,000, Offaly County Council 500, and North Tipperary Council 500. The committee in Moneygall feel this is not an adequate allocation. We are certainly not happy with it,” said Cllr Ormond.

He said people from the surrounding areas would like the opportunity to see the president.

Director of Services Sean Murray said Offaly County Council are liaising with the US Embassy over the event and is also working with locals regarding its organisation. “Offaly County Council will be working with the people of Moneygall in relation to invites,” said Mr Murray.

He said it was a chance to celebrate a unique event of local, regional, national and international importance.

Mr Murray would not be drawn on exact figures in relation to ticket allocations.

However he said the day would be one for the history books with music and street theatre to take place in village.

Security in the village itself will be extra tight with residents receiving vetting forms from the Gardai. Anybody who stays in the village the night before the event will be vetted.

Meanwhile, still hopeful that President Obama will accept their invitation, the village of Shinrone has erected its’ planned memorial stone to the 15 plus Kearney’s buried in Shinrone churchyard. The village has invited the US President to lay a wreath on the family grave.

However, with a date or itinerary yet to be confirmed Shinrone is still in the dark as to whether the President will include the village on his brief visit to the county.