MAYOR of New York Michael Bloomberg has been invited to Limerick to see how St Patrick's Day is really celebrated after landing himself in hot water for labelling the Irish as drunks.
New York politicians like to be in the thick of the celebrations on March 17 to win Irish-American votes but Minister of State Peter Power said the Bloomberg blooper could be forgotten about if he broke the mould and came to Limerick next month.
During a speech to Irish-Americans, Bloomberg commented on seeing Irish who "are totally inebriated hanging out the windows and waving".
He has since apologised for his comments after objections from Irish-Americans.
"I don't think Mayor Bloomberg meant to be offensive and he has apologised for his comments but I do think he'd have a much better idea of how the Irish celebrate St Patrick's Day if he came to Limerick for this year's celebrations," said Deputy Power,"I think the Mayor would have a fantastic time if he came to our city.
"It would also help to promote Limerick as a tourism destination and help attract more US tourists to our city.I will be writing to Mayor Bloomberg extending an invitation to Limerick and hopefully he will then get to experience a real celebration and see how the native Irish celebrate our national day," he said.
With Fianna Fail unlikely to be in office next month, Deputy Power looks like spending the celebrations at home for the first time since being promoted to Minister of State in 2008. He visited Birmingham in 2009 and South Africa and Lesotho last year.
Deputy Power, however, did not rack up the lavish expenses associated with other ministerial visits overseas on March 17. He took a €10 fare with Ryanair to Birmingham in 2009.
Last year, his visit to Irish Aid projects in Africa coincided with St Patrick's Day. Costs associated with the national day were €165 for subsistence and €125 on accommodation.
This contrasted with his senior minister in Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin, who spent €523 on accommodation in Washington and €2190 on travel but didn't claim for subsistence.