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Joe Biden speakin in Ballina, Co. Mayo last month.
Special Relationship

Joe Biden says he came to Ireland to make sure 'the Brits didn't screw around'

The US President was referring to Britain’s commitments to Northern Ireland.

US PRESIDENT JOE Biden has said that he came to Ireland to “make sure the Brits didn’t screw around”. 

Speaking in reference to Northern Ireland and ongoing efforts to restore the Stormont executive, Biden made the tongue-in-cheek remark at a Democratic Party fundraiser in New York yesterday. 

Biden also spoke extensively of his visit to his mother’s ancestral home in Ballina. 

He spoke about his trip to Co Mayo, despite saying he “hadn’t planned on talking about it” at the event, during a speech on the topic of equality.

Biden said: “I got to go back, [it's] not what I had planned on talking about, but I got to go back to Ireland for the Irish Accords, to make sure they weren’t – the Brits didn”t screw around and Northern Ireland didn’t walk away from their commitments.”

“And I went back to my mother’s mother’s ancestral home in Ballina, which is in County Mayo in Ireland. And at 9:15, on a rainy night on the River Moy, in front of a cathedral, which it turned out they went back and dug up records showing my great-great-grandfather provided the bricks to build this – the – to hold up the steeple – there were somewhere between 28- and 40,000 people in the rain standing there.”

“I guess the point of it is this: We’ve all been through – and whether you are Greek or Irish – you went through times when you weren’t respected very much, when we were treated [as though] we were somehow fundamentally different than other people,” he added. 

The US President went on to say that it “wasn’t just Irish or African Americans, a lot of people went through it”. 

Biden went on to say that America is “the only nation in the world where we are not based on our ethnicity.”

“We are not based on our religion. We’re based on the notion of an idea,” Biden added, going on to say that the idea is that “all men and women are created equal”. 

Last month, Biden embarked on a four day round trip of Ireland. He landed in the North and met with Stormont leaders as well as the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, before travelling to Dublin. 

He also visited Carlingford and Dundalk, and made his final speech in Ballina, where his mother’s family hails from. 

Biden frequently speaks fondly about his Irish roots, last month he said that arriving in Ireland felt like “coming home”. 

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