White House calling: Obama congratulates Kenny

Sat, Mar 12, 2011, 00:00

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama phoned Taoiseach Enda Kenny to congratulate him on his election victory and wish him success in office.

In Brussels yesterday, Mr Kenny broke away from the emergency EU summit on Libya to take a scheduled call from Mr Obama at 3pm Irish time. The two leaders spoke for seven or eight minutes, the Taoiseach’s spokesman told reporters.

Mr Kenny told Mr Obama that he was in Denver in August 2008 when he received the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency. In turn, Mr Obama remarked on the large number of Irish people who are on his staff in the White House.

While the White House has already invited the Taoiseach to visit Mr Obama on St Patrick’s Day, the president said he wanted to extend a personal invitation.

Mr Kenny reminded Mr Obama that he has a standing invitation to visit Ireland. They did not discuss any possible dates for such a visit but may do at their meeting on St Patrick’s Day. The Taoiseach told the president that EU leaders were still discussing the volatile situation in Libya, adding that the 17 euro zone leaders would be discussing the sovereign debt crisis later in the evening.