Obama’s long-lost Irish relatives ‘not pleased at hearing ancestry’

March 18th, 2011 - 12:13 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama London, Mar 18 (ANI): A family history website has said that US President Barack Obama has 28 living relatives, including a Vietnam veteran and school nurse, descended from an Irishman who fled the potato famine.

However, two pensioners of these relatives are not impressed to hear their presidential connections, reports the Daily Mail.

Ancestry.co.uk traced Dorma Lee Reese, 83, of Arizona, and Roma Joy Palmer, 66, of Kansas, to Obama through his Irish ancestor Falmouth Kearney, who arrived in the U.S. aged 19.

“I’m not a Democrat, so I can’t say I clapped. I don’t appreciate what he’s done by any means, but I do appreciate that he holds that office,” said Reese, a retired brain-imaging technologist.

“I really don’t like to claim a relationship to Obama,” said Palmer, another distant relative of Obama and a Republican.

“He is not my favourite president. I don’t have anything against him personally. But I don’t think we have the same agenda,” the retired insurer added.

Obama is said to have spoken of his origins during a White House lunch with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

“Speaking of ancestry, there has been some controversy about my own background,” he said to laughter.

“Two years into my presidency, some are still bent on peddling rumors about my origins. So today I want to put all those rumours to rest. It is true my great-great-great-grandfather really was from Ireland - Moneygall, to be precise,” he added.

Kearney arrived in New York with his brother-in-law William and wife, Margaret Cleary, and they were destined for Ohio. He had 10 children and later settled in Indiana as a farmer.

Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was a descendant of one of Kearney’s daughters, Mary Ann Kearney, and Jacob William Dunham.

Obama has known since 2007 he had an Irish ancestor who fled the Irish famine, which destroyed families and livelihoods, leaving the country starving.

But a further Ancestry.co.uk study Irish heritage revealed more findings. (ANI)

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