National

Mar 17, 2010 9:49 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Obama, Irish leaders celebrate St. Patrick's

Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen is looking to boost his flagging political fortunes in a St. Patrick's Day meeting with President Barack Obama.

The annual White House event is a mix of lighthearted cheer and serious politics.

Cowen comes to the party weighed down by the massive budget cuts he has implemented to address his country's debt. But he has won some praise for avoiding the kind of debt crisis now facing Greece. Cowen will be joined at the White House by Northern Ireland leaders, First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praised the leaders for reaching an agreement in February that prevented a collapse of the Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government.

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