Dispute between US and Ireland over hotel rooms for Reagan’s visit to Tipperary

A feud erupted between Irish and American officials before US President Ronald Reagan visited Ireland in 1984 over the allocation of hotel rooms to those around him.

U.S. officials have complained that Irish authorities are planning to accommodate Mr. Reagan’s staff and traveling U.S. media in 41 different hotels during the president’s visit to his ancestral home in Ballyporeen, County Tipperary.

Records reveal that the US administration wanted the Irish government to intervene to simplify hotel arrangements for the visit.

A letter sent to the Foreign Office by an American diplomat in April 1984 indicated that they were far from satisfied with the arrangements, especially with regard to the western part of Ireland for the visit.

“We believe that 41 different hotels are logistically impossible,” wrote John Boyle, counselor at the United States Embassy in Ballsbridge.

He asked if the Irish government could try to “swap” current reservation holders between different hotels in a bid to get more rooms in fewer hotels for White House staff.

“It was with these assurances that we accepted the Irish Government’s invitation to visit the West Coast,” Boyle wrote.

He claimed the “only workable solution” was to resort to the original plan of spending the night in Dublin and taking a helicopter to visit Galway and Ballyporeen “as a day trip”.

Records also reveal that Bord Fáilte warned the United States Embassy in Dublin that it would be responsible for paying for hotel rooms already booked and that it would have to accept any financial responsibility arising from its decision to cancel the rooms. of the Corrib Great Southern Hotel in Galway.

They also show that a number of hotels had complained that they were expected to cancel guests from regular tours who had booked to stay three nights to cover one night for President Reagan’s staff with significant financial losses.

One hotel said it was to offer wine and cocktails at a cost of IR £ 2,000 as compensation to tour operators for causing them to change their plans to make the US president’s visit easier.

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