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US President Joe Biden meeting with children at Dublin Airport yesterday. Julien Behal

Biden tour of Ireland comes to Dublin as President to visit Áras, Oireachtas and Dublin Castle

The US president will address the joint Houses of the Oireachtas this afternoon.

US PRESIDENT JOE Biden will make trips to Áras an Uachtaráin, Leinster House and Dublin Castle today as his Irish visit continues. 

The main event today – scheduled for the late afternoon – will be his address to the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas. 

Biden arrived in the Republic yesterday afternoon after beginning his day in Belfast with a sit down meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

He also gave a speech at the new Ulster University campus, before flying into Dublin.

Biden stopped at an airport fire station just off the tarmac, where he delivered brief remarks to a crowd of about 250 US embassy officials and their young children.

NO FEE DFA PRESIDENT BIDEN IRL JB12 US President Biden arriving at Dublin Airport and being greeted by familiy and friends of US Embassy staff.

After leaving Dublin Airport, Biden made his way to Dundalk and Carlingford, where he braved the Irish weather and met with locals.

“Feels like home,” Biden said as he entered the Windsor bar in Dundalk yesterday evening.

While speaking to the crowd in the bar, Biden also appeared to confuse the name of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team with a contentious War of Independence-era police force in Ireland, the ‘Black and Tans’, during a speech in Co Louth.

handout-photo-issued-by-government-of-ireland-of-us-president-joe-biden-right-at-the-windsor-with-tanaiste-michael-martin-in-dundalk-co-louth-during-his-trip-to-the-island-of-ireland-picture-date US President Joe Biden (right) at The Windsor with Tanaiste Michael Martin in Dundalk, Co Louth Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Earlier in the day, he said he understood why his family fled to the US during the famine but added: “When you are here why anyone would want to leave – it is good to be back”. 

Biden also joked about Micheál Martin’s bout of Covid while he was Taoiseach on a St Patrick’s Day trip to Washington DC, stating that they had to put him up in good quarters. Martin was forced to quarantine in Blair House last year, a residence just a few metres from the White House.

The US president also paid tribute to the people of Dundalk and the County of Louth – and commented how Carlingford Castle was likely the last sight of the locality as his family fled the Famine and emigrated to the US.

Biden’s great-grandfather, James Finnegan, emigrated from Louth as a child in 1850.

handout-photo-issued-by-government-of-ireland-of-us-president-joe-biden-visits-the-food-house-while-on-a-walkabout-through-dundalk-co-louth-during-his-trip-to-the-island-of-ireland-picture-date-we US President Joe Biden visits the Food House while on a walkabout through Dundalk, Co Louth Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Meeting with President Higgins

Today at 11am, Biden will meet with President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, where the US president will participate in a tree-planting ceremony and ring the Peace Bell.

The park will be closed to the public until 5pm today as a security measure for the visit.

Tents were removed from Phoenix Park and people sleeping rough in wooded areas of the city park were relocated in preparation for the park’s closure.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will also meet with Biden at lunchtime at Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park. After, the President will attend a youth Gaelic sports demonstration.

The two leaders also met briefly at Dublin Airport and Varadkar was in Washington just last month for the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations at the White House. 

2 Taoiseach and President Biden in Oval Office marty katz marty katz

Biden will deliver an address to the Oireachtas just before 4pm today.

Biden will be the fourth US president to do so – following John F Kennedy’s address in June 1963, Ronald Reagan’s in June 1984 and Bill Clinton’s in December 1995.

There is strict security surrounding today’s address, with TDs and senators who will be in touching distance of the US president being asked to take antigen tests. 

It had been expected the members of the media in attendance in the press gallery would also have to take an antigen test, but it is understood the guidance is that if a person is within nine feet of Biden they are encouraged to take a test, but that no proof will be requested. 

No invite for Yury

Former members of the Houses, as well as ambassadors have also been invited to the event, however, RTÉ reported in recent days that Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov has not been invited to attend the Oireachtas today. 

It is understood that at 3.25pm, the US president and his delegation will arrive at Merrion Street entrance and be greeted by Ceann Comhairle and Cathaoirleach. 

Biden will then make his way into the main hall in Leinster House, which has been kitted out with additional cameras along the hallways, before signing the distinguished visitors’ book. 

At 3.44pm, the US President will arrive at the Dáil chamber and be announced by the Superintendent of the House. 

Ceann Comhairle Sean O’Fhearghail will give an opening speech, welcoming the president, before Biden makes his address at 3.48pm. It is expected that Biden will leave the Dáil chamber at about 4.15pm. 

027Biden Visit Armed gardaí wait for the Joe Biden as he lands at Dublin Airport yesterday.

Traffic disruption

Due to the tight security arrangements in the capital, road closures in and around Dublin, and in particular, Leinster House, will be disruptive. 

Earlsfort Terrace remains closed to traffic until Saturday, while road closures in the following areas will remain in place until this evening:

  • Kildare Street
  • Molesworth St
  • Merrion Street
  • Merrion St Upper
  • Fitzwilliam Lane
  • School House Lane*
  • Merrion Sq West
  • Merrion Sq South

Ship Street, Castle Street and Palace Street will also be closed from 8am this morning. 

Dinner banquet 

Following his address at Leinster House, Biden will attend a banquet dinner at Dublin Castle.

dublin-castle-ireland-saint-patricks-hall-ceiling-state-rooms-image-shot-2005-exact-date-unknown Saint Patrick's Hall Ceiling in the State Rooms at Dublin Castle where Joe Biden will attend a banquet this evening. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

On Friday, Biden will wrap up his visit to Ireland with a trip to Mayo where he will visit Knock and Ballina. 

Biden will tour the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock before meeting with locals in Ballina, who are already planning to roll out the red carpet for his return.

Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewit emigrated from the town almost 200 years ago, having worked as a brick-maker and as a civil engineer helping to map Ireland.

He first visited Ballina in June 2016 as US vice-president.

Biden is to round out his trip to Ireland with a homecoming speech to the public in Ballina, which will take place outside St Muredach’s Cathedral in the town on Friday evening.

The Coronas, the Academic and the Chieftains are all due to play at the event.

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