MILLIONAIRE businessman JP McManus has pulled off a major coup by securing the services of former US President Bill Clinton as the guest of honour at his annual All Ireland Scholarship awards ceremony in November.
Mr Clinton will visit Limerick on November 17 for the ceremony in the University Concert Hall, where he will present 125 lucky students with their bursaries.
It will be Mr Clinton’s second visit to Limerick, with the 42nd President of the United States memorably delivering a stirring speech to thousands on O’Connell Street in 1998.
Mr McManus has previously welcomed former President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Enda Kenny a guests at the high profile ceremony, which sees students receive scholarships worth €6,750 - or £5,500 - annually while in university.
The scholarships were established in 2008, with Mr McManus contributing a total of €32 million to the scheme, from which over 1,300 students from the 32 counties will benefit.
University of Limerick president Professor Don Barry welcomed the news.
“We are always delighted to welcome the JP McManus All Ireland Scholarship awards ceremony to the UL campus and we are sure that the address by former President Bill Clinton will inspire this year’s recipients as they receive their scholarships and the generous support of the JP McManus Scholarship Trust in support of their higher education,” he said.
Laura Ryan, head of Limerick’s Communications Office, welcomed the news, saying “the profile of Limerick will be boosted by the visit of such a household name”.
“I remember the excitement the last time that Bill Clinton visited Limerick and the great buzz around the city that was generated by his visit,” said Ms Ryan.
“It is a great coup by the organisers to get the former President as guest of honour for the ceremony and I’m sure many people, not just the high performing students, will be looking forward to the opportunity to meet him.”