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White House

Obama to Depart Ireland Early

Air Force One Will Take Off Monday Night to Avoid Ash Cloud, White House Says

President Obama will cut short his Irish visit to avoid a cloud of volcanic ash that could have interrupted travel, the White House announced Monday afternoon.

(PICTURES: Grimsvotn volcano erupts in Iceland.)


"Due to a recent change in the trajectory in the plume of volcanic ash, Air Force One will depart Ireland for London tonight. The schedule for tomorrow will proceed as planned," Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. The volcano spewing the ash is in Iceland. It is not the same one that interrupted transatlantic air traffic just over a year ago.

The change in schedule means that Obama will have spent less than 24 hours with the adoring Irish crowds. He and the first lady landed in Dublin at 9:29 a.m. local time on Monday, and were originally scheduled to spend the night in the country before leaving for London on Tuesday.

The full presidential entourage includes at least six aircraft including a press charter, two identical 747s that serve as Air Force One, the airborne nuclear command post and midair refueling jets.

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