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Obama's Irish Heritage Celebrated
Friday, 28-Jan-2011 11:44AM United Press International
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DUBLIN, Ireland, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is to be given a Certificate of Irish Heritage in honor of his family's connection to Ireland, organizers said.

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The president's late maternal grandfather traced his roots to Ireland.

The certificate will be officially awarded to Obama March 17 to mark the beginning of the St. Patrick's Day celebrations for 2011.

"This certificate is being awarded to President Obama as an individual, to recognize his unique Irish heritage, and as a representative of the United States. The people of America, particularly the Irish-American community, have long supported the social, cultural and economic interests of Ireland and the Irish people", Michael Pearse, chief executive officer of www.certificateofirishheritage.com, said in a statement Thursday.

"The Irish-American community, in particular, is one of the most vibrant, active and influential Irish communities around the world. It was, therefore, thought only fitting and appropriate that President Obama should be the first person to receive this certificate on behalf of the people of America in recognition of the strong cultural, historic and economic relationships between the two countries. Unfortunately, due to outstanding obligations, we are aware that President Obama will not be able to come to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day; we do, however, look forward to having the president visit Ireland in the future."

The Certificate of Irish Heritage has been created to recognize people's Irish ancestry and to encourage them to explore the history and tradition associated with their own personal heritage, a news release from Pearse's company explained.

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