US President invited to Derry by McGuinness

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on St. Patrick's Day at the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 17, 2011.'Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / MAI
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on St. Patrick's Day at the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 17, 2011.'Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / MAI
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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has invited US President Barack Obama to visit his home town.

Mr McGuinness extended the invitation to Derry when he visited the White House on St Patrick’s Day.

The deputy first minister said he hoped very much that the US leader would follow in the footsteps of his Democrat predecessor, Bill Clinton - who has visited the city on two previous occasions.

“It would be a tremendous boost if the President was able to pay an official visit before the end of this term. Such a visit would further cement the great relationship we’ve enjoyed with successive US administrations during recent years,” he said following his return home from Washington.

Mr McGuinness pointed out how vital continued investment from the US is for Northern Ireland’s economic future.

“The United States has always been a steadfast friend and supporter of the peace process, economic development and social justice.

“We continue to face the challenge of promoting economic growth for the benefit of all.

“US investment is a vital element in this as we seek to create employment, tackle poverty and give all communities a stake in the future. There are also concerns about the long-term future of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) which we raised during our visit.”

Mr McGuinness, along with First Minister Peter Robinson, met with Mr Obama in the famous Oval Office on Thursday last to outline the progress made in the North.

“As we come to the end of the first full uninterrupted Assembly term we outlined to the President the progress we have made, the challenges we face and our commitment that we would continue to move forward.”

Mr McGuinness also attended the Northern Ireland Bureau breakfast promoting the Creative Industries during his visit to Washington.