Trade mission completed, but O’Malley staying behind in Ireland this week


Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley at a gun-control rally in March . (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The state of Maryland’s trade mission to Ireland has ended, but Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is lingering this week for a little “personal time,” his office said Monday.

O’Malley spokeswoman Takirra Winfield said the governor — who is not shy about displaying his heritage — is “hanging out with friends and family” in Ireland and is lodging with extended family at no expense to the state.

First lady Catherine Curran O’Malley, who accompanied the governor on last week’s trade mission, which also included a few days in France, has since returned home, and none of the couple’s four children is traveling with the governor, Winfield said.

So what is O’Malley up to?

Part of the answer was provided by the Periscope column on the Irish Central Web site, which noted O’Malley’s whereabouts Saturday, the day after his final events on the public itinerary released by his office.

“He was the guitar player at the after-dinner sing song at the American Ireland Fund dinner in the K Club, 20 miles from Dublin,” said the column, written by Niall O’Dowd. “The music went on late into the night as the assembled sang every Irish song they ever knew, and he matched them note for note.”

O’Malley, who fronts the semi-retired Celtic rock band O’Malley’s March, is due back in Maryland on Friday, Winfield said. She said the state will pay for his return flight because “he would have had to come back anyway.”

The official events on O’Malley’s trade mission included meetings with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

In France, he attended the International Paris Air Show, where Maryland had a booth to advertise companies from the state. O’Malley’s itinerary also included meetings with aerospace companies Lockheed Martin, BAE and Thales, and a reception with the U.S. ambassador to France, his office said.

Winfield said the total cost incurred by O’Malley and other state officials traveling on the weeklong mission is estimated to be about $60,000. The first lady paid her own way, Winfield said.

Besides chronicling O’Malley’s musical talents, the column on the Irish Central Web site also relayed that he is considering a 2016 White House bid back home.

“Even though he sings a mean ‘Fields of Athenry’ and loves to belt out Christy Moore numbers, Martin O’Malley’s real ambitions tend elsewhere,” O’Dowd wrote.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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