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

11 May 2023, 16:40

Joe Biden visited Ireland last month
Joe Biden visited Ireland last month. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Joe Biden has claimed he visited Ireland last month "to make sure the Brits didn't screw around".

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The US president, who is proud of his Irish heritage, went to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland for a four-day trip to celebrate 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking to reporters at a Democrat party event, Mr Biden said: "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."

Read more: 'I'm home': Joe Biden hails US and Ireland's 'partnership for the ages' in passionate address to Irish parliament

Read more: Joe Biden celebrates Irish roots in pub speech during visit to ancestors' home county

The US President used his visit to the island to say that he believed that the UK should be working more closely with the administration in Dublin to support Northern Ireland.

Read more: Joe Biden makes Ireland gaffe as he confuses the All Blacks with the Black and Tans

Read more: Joe Biden 'more than comfortable' travelling to Northern Ireland for Good Friday Agreement anniversary despite violence

The trip saw Mr Biden meet briefly with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Belfast, before undertaking a series of engagements across the Republic that culminated in a homecoming event in Ballina, Co Mayo that saw him celebrate his ancestral links to the town.

Joe Biden in Ireland
Joe Biden in Ireland. Picture: Getty

The visit came after the UK and the EU secured a long-awaited deal designed to address unionist concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Windsor Framework has not so far seen powersharing return in Northern Ireland, with Stormont still collapsed after the Democratic Unionist Party pulled out of the institutions amid anger at the post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland.

Mr Biden, whose trip coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, made clear his hope that power sharing could soon be restored.

Downing Street said that Mr Sunak's Brexit deal with the EU was about "protecting" the Good Friday Agreement, when asked about the remarks.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden. Picture: Alamy

The Prime Minister's official spokesman, asked about the US President's remarks, said: "You will know that, obviously, the Windsor Framework was a culmination of substantive work between the UK and the EU, and at its heart the UK priority was always protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

"We have been consistent on that point throughout and we are pleased that between the UK and the EU we have been able to reach an agreement that works for the people of Northern Ireland, and for the whole of the UK."

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