Former President Bill Clinton says he will return to Dundalk 'soon'

FORMER US president Bill Clinton will return to Dundalk sometime "soon".

FORMER US president Bill Clinton will return to Dundalk sometime "soon".

Mr Clinton made the admission to Gerry Adams in a letter last week with the Sinn Fin president presenting it to Town Centre Commercial Manager Andrew Mawhinney after he visited the specially erected marquee in Market Square to take in the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Clintons' visit to Dundalk at the weekend.

Ten years ago President Clinton, his wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea visited Dundalk as part of his last visit to Ireland before leaving the White House.

On that occasion he received a tumultuous welcome. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were there to meet him along with many local dignitaries and thousands of County Louth citizens.

In a letter to Gerry Adams, President Clinton sent his best wishes to all involved, spoke about his memories of that visit and says he looks forward to returning.

Speaking about the letter he received, Mr Adams said: "On Thursday I called to meet Andrew Mawhinney who is the Dundalk Town Centre Manager. Andrew briefed me on the work of his office and their ambitious plans for the coming year. He showed me some of the material that has been gathered to celebrate the tenth anniversary visit of President Bill Clinton to Dundalk in 2000.

"I told Andrew that I was sure the President would be very pleased to know that Dundalk was remembering that event. I said I would contact the President and let him know of the celebration.

"In a letter I received from President Clinton he asked me to extend his 'deep appreciation to Andrew Mawhinney, the Town management Committee and Council, and all of the folks in Dundalk celebrating this weekend.'

Also in his letter, Mr Clinton said: "When Hillary, Chelsea and I arrived in this town ten years ago, we were introduced to the incredible warmth and generosity of the Dundalk community.

"I've cherished my recollections of that trip and I'm delighted to hear that our visit was memorable for so many of the wonderful people we met.

"As I said that evening in December 2000, a piece of my heart will always lie in Ireland. I'm glad that I was able to visit this proud town during my final trip abroad as President and I look forward to seeing it again soon."