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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Alamy Stock Photo US President Joe Biden
New York

Coveney says US President Joe Biden hopes a trip to Ireland can happen soon

The Taoiseach first invited the US president to visit Ireland when Biden was elected in November 2020.

US PRESIDENT JOE Biden has said he hopes to be able to visit soon, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

The minister met the US president at a reception for leaders yesterday evening hosted by Biden. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was to attend also, but due to his flight being delayed, he missed out on the event. 

Speaking to reporters in New York, the minister said:

“What was supposed to happen yesterday was of course, the Taoiseach was supposed to be meeting President Biden, I was supposed to be there as well, but the Taoiseach’s plane was delayed, so that couldn’t happen, so I went on my own instead.” 

“I had a very warm exchange, it was a short exchange with President Biden and his wife the First Lady,” he added.

“I said to him there is a country waiting for a visit and that he would be extraordinarily welcome when he comes back home effectively and he said to me that he was really looking forward to that visit and he hopes it can happen soon.”

“He raised the point with me that he had met the British Prime Minister yesterday and he had made it very clear that the peace accords, as they are referred to here, need to be protected in the context of the ongoing discussions and negotiations in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol,” he added. 

When asked if had a specific date in which the US president might make a trip to Ireland, Coveney said: “I certainly would be hopeful that it’ll happen in the not too distant future. But I don’t have a date.”

The Taoiseach first invited the US president to visit Ireland when Biden was elected in November 2020. 

During that phone call, Biden is understood to have spoken proudly about his Irish heritage. His ancestors emigrated from Mayo and Louth.

Biden spoke about Irish roots during his Ireland Funds dinner speech earlier this year.

“I inherited my mother’s side of the family’s overwhelming pride — overwhelming pride in being Irish — a pride that spoke to both continents’ heart and soul, and drew from the old and the new,” he said. 

In May 2011, US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle visited Ireland. There was much more fanfare over the visit, with thousands of people turning out in Dublin to catch a glimpse of Obama. 

The Obamas travelled to Moneygall, Co Offaly to visit the small village which is his ancestral home.

With reporting by Christina Finn in New York

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