The President of the United States is visiting Ireland to visit his relatives, and meet with a couple diplomats.
Biden Family Visits Ireland
President Biden is “very excited” about his upcoming visit to Northern Ireland despite recent violence in the region, including the firebombing of a police vehicle, a White House spokesman said Monday.
Speaking with reporters before the flight, Joe Biden said the trip to Ireland was scheduled for “making sure the Irish accords and the Windsor Agreement stay in place – keep the peace.”
The trip coincides with the 1998 signing of the Good Friday Agreement that ended the conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted for about 30 years.
He is joined on the trip with his popular son, Hunter, and sister Valerie.
Biden, 80, will head to Belfast on Tuesday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The 1998 peace accords brought the 30-year-long sectarian conflict known as The Troubles to an end.
Biden’s Purpose for the Trip
“The President is traveling to the United Kingdom and Ireland this week. And as I think you all also know, he’s very excited for this trip and has been now for quite some time,” the White House National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said on Monday.
Biden’s visit to Northern Ireland will also focus on “the readiness of the United States to support Northern Ireland’s vast economic potential to the benefit of all communities,” according to the White House.
The economic focus of Biden’s visit is particularly notable as Ireland, a member of the European Union, and Northern Ireland, part of the U.K., are still dealing with the fallout from Brexit, when the U.K. left the EU.
“The Irish government has been strong supporters of Ukraine, providing vital non-lethal assistance including medical supplies, body armor and support for Ukraine’s electric grid, as well as their agriculture,” White House spokesperson John Kirby said.
“They have supported EU sanctions on Russia and the people of Ireland have generously welcomed nearly 80,000 Ukrainians, offering refuge to those who were forced to flee their homes in search of safety,” he said.
The town of Carlingford has been busy ahead of his arrival, hanging US flags and messages welcoming the president.
The US president has relatives buried in nearby Templetown and is expected to meet with relatives and visit “places of significance to the Finnegans of County Louth and the Blewitts of County Mayo,” according to a White House official.
US ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin said Joe Biden will “underscore the importance” of US-Irish relations. “I think it’s very well known that he has a great fondness and affection for this country, the home of his ancestors,” she said. “But it’s also a time for him to underscore the importance of the US-Irish relationship, which remains so strong always.”
The White House said there will not be a formal group meeting between US President Joe Biden and Northern Ireland’s five main political parties.
He will have an opportunity to engage with the leaders of the parties ahead of a speech on Wednesday at Ulster University.
Following his time in the U.K., Biden will head to the Republic of Ireland later this week, where he will meet with President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as well as address a joint session of the Irish legislature.
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