The Taoiseach was the guest of honour at today's St Patrick's parade in Chicago.

Mr Cowen, accompanied by the Mayor of Chicago Richard M Daley and Governor Pat Quinn led the parade down Michigan Avenue.

Mr Cowen spoke about the bonds between Chicago and Ireland which he said ran deep in our history.

Asked to comment on media speculation that President Obama intended to visit Ireland this June, the Taoiseach said there was no foundation whatsoever to the speculation.

He added that there was a standing invitation to Mr Obama to come to Ireland of a time of his choosing and that was still the situation.