Visiting Ireland, Biden Makes Himself at Home

In addressing lawmakers, president stresses cooperation and leans on UK
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2023 7:10 PM CDT
Biden Brings Home US-Irish Ties
President Biden and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar watch girls play hurling during a youth Gaelic sports demonstration Thursday in Dublin.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Biden linked Ireland and the US repeatedly as he wrapped up his visit on Thursday, talking of the roles the two nations must play while emphasizing that he felt like he belongs in the land of his ancestors. "I'm not going home," he said, per the Washington Post, as he stood in the president's residence and noted that the place reminded him of the White House. In a speech to parliament, he said: "If you forgive the poor attempt at Irish: Tá mé sa bhaile. I'm at home." Turning to issues including the war in Ukraine, preserving democracy, and the need for clean energy, Biden told the lawmakers, "In this moment the world needs Ireland and the United States and our limitless imaginations."

The 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement was the backdrop of Biden's visit, and he celebrated the landmark Northern Ireland deal in earlier remarks at the president's house, per the BBC. An "entire generation of young people's lives have been shaped by confidence that there are no checkpoints on their dream," he said, adding, "Political violence must never again be allowed to take hold on this island." But he told parliament that the UK "should be working closer" with the Republic of Ireland to support Northern Ireland. Leo Varadkar, Ireland's prime minister, praised US assistance in the peace effort. "By looking always to the future, you have helped us to move beyond the past, and build something better," he said.

Biden felt at home enough to say something in a pub that wasn't appreciated in the UK. In telling a story about his rugby-playing cousin, Biden said Rob Kearney's Irish team "beat the hell out of the Black and Tans." He meant to say the All Blacks, New Zealand's stellar team, per USA Today. The Black and Tans were a British force that conducted a bloody battle against the Irish Republican Army in the 1920s. Most Irish commentators seemed to laugh it off, per the Guardian, with an Irish Times headline calling it a "delicious gaffe" while one Twitter post said, "Good one, Joe." Biden got the name right in his speech to Parliament, and the White House transcript corrected the earlier slip. The Wikipedia entry for the Black and Tans briefly credited Biden's cousin with "ending their reign of terror." (More President Biden stories.)

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