When Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited the US to mark St Patrick’s Day he brought a special gift with him from his native county for Vice President Joe Biden, who was presented with a facsimile copy of a precious artefact from Mayo County Council’s Jackie Clarke Collection.
The document is a copy of an original letter written by Theobald Wolfe Tone. It is signed in his nom de guerre, John Smith, and requests the re-issue of his letters of service in his real name in order to facilitate his return to fight for Ireland.
The gift has special significance for Mr Biden who has previously named Wolfe Tone as his hero. The vice president also has strong links with Co Mayo and Ballina.
The Jackie Clarke Collection will open permanently to the public later this year in the former Provincial Bank building on Pearse Street in Ballina.