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Irish launch St Patrick's Day diplomatic offensive
Irish premier leads global charm offensive for St. Patrick's Day; 17 ministers in 15 countries
By The Associated Press

DUBLIN (AP) ' The Irish prime minister has flown to the United States to lead a global St. Patrick's Day charm offensive that seeks to woo investment from America, China and other countries to debt-crippled Ireland.

Enda Kenny is arriving Friday in Chicago to begin a five-day visit that concludes Tuesday with St. Patrick's Day festivities in the White House. The Washington events take place three days late because this year the March 17 holiday falls on a weekend.

Kenny has deployed 16 of his government's ministers to Canada, China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, nine European neighbors and several U.S. cities from Boston to San Francisco.

While the public focus is on parades and partying, Kenny says his mission is to recruit more high-tech business and tourism to Ireland.

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