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‘We’ll be back’

Muhammad Ali plays to the camera on arrival in Ennis at Turnpike road, his ancestral home. Photograph by John KellyMUHAMMAD Ali is set to make a return visit to his ancestral home of Ennis with his wife Lonnie revealing this week “we will be back”.
Thousands of people turned out on Tuesday to give the boxer a hero’s welcome to Ennis and the family were so moved by what they witnessed that Lonnie has vowed that the family will make a return visit to the Banner.
And seeing as the pair are permanent residents of Phoenix Arizona, which has been twinned with Ennis for a long number of years, the couple should have no trouble keeping up-to-date with goings on in Ali’s ancestral home.
Speaking to those gathered for a civic reception in Ennis on Tuesday, which was broadcast live via a big screen to thousands of fans in Abbey Street Car Park, Lonnie thanked the people of Ennis for the welcome they had given to the Ali family.
She said, “It’s interesting because if you look at Muhammad’s pugilistic skills and his loquacious ways I’m sure if his great-grandfather was alive, he would swear it would have come from him.”
“If he were alive today, I bet he’d be in every pub talking about it,” she laughed.
She told those gathered, “It’s a rare opportunity that we get to come over to Ireland and especially to Ennis. The people of Ennis have been so overwhelming in their outpouring of love for this man and we are sincerely thankful.” And she exclaimed, “Now that we know that Muhammad Ali is an Ennis man, we will be back”.
She also invited Ali’s Ennis relatives who attended the civic reception to come and visit them if they are ever in America, warmly embracing them and introducing them to Ali.
Ennis town manager Ger Dollard commented that he expects a return visit from the Ali family to Ennis, particularly in light of the strong links between Phoenix and Ennis.
“We understand that they are permanent residents of Phoenix and we have been twinned with that place for over 20 years. There is a very strong relationship there and we expect a return visit to Ennis,” he said.

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