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crime world Episode 80: The secret service spooks and the White House love affair with Ireland

The incredible stories around the visits of US leaders to their ancestral birthplaces

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Nicola Tallant, Sunday World investigations editor

Nicola Tallant, Sunday World investigations editor

Nicola Tallant, Sunday World investigations editor

They are the black-suited operatives whose role is to protect the President of the United States - and if Joe Biden’s plans to visit Ireland this summer come to pass they will be crawling around the highways and byways of the country to make safe his passage.

But the Secret Service are no strangers to Ireland, and they have had a few bemusing encounters here in the past in scenes which would often be at home in an episode of Father Ted.

Now, in her new book The Green and White House, journalist Lynne Kelleher brings together the incredible stories around the seemingly seamless visits of US leaders to their ancestral birthplaces in often rural outposts across Ireland.

From the visits of Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, she tells about the hilarious run-ins of the secret service agents with bemused locals from Ballyporeen to Timahoe, the Aran cardigan which was almost central to a controlled explosion and a chatty hotel manager whose wry joke nearly sparked a major security scare.

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