Return to the island of ancestors: Joe Biden on guard of Irish roots

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Federal News Agency

Journey of the President of the United States of America Joseph Biden from 12 to 15 April, she again raised the issue of the Irish Protocol, which should regulate the relationship between Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) and Ireland (which is part of the European Union, which the UK left). The owner of the White House made an attempt to restore democracy in Northern Ireland in a favorite way in Washington: with the promise of money. Apparently, the American gesture did not impress the Irish.

Author Telegram channel “Old England” talks about the results of Joe Biden’s visit to the British Isles.

American leaders of Irish descent

Joe Biden became eighth US president to visit Ireland. Many of his predecessors were also proud of their Irish roots. They were always greeted in different ways: there were both jubilant crowds and protests.

Kennedy, the first Irish president, visited Ireland five months before his assassination. He gathered huge crowds of admirers who followed him everywhere.

John F. Kennedy became the first foreign leader to address a joint session of the Irish Houses of Parliament; it was also the first time that a meeting had been recorded.

"“class=”” src=””> / Ollie Atkins / public domain

President Nixon’s trip to Ireland was during the Vietnam War protests. One of the strikers threw eggs at the presidential cortege, following through the center of Dublin.

The American president had lunch at Dublin Castle with the Prime Minister of Ireland, on the way to which more demonstrators were waiting for him.

prt scr / Reagan Library
prt scr / Reagan Library

Reagan’s visit is remembered by many with a photograph of the president drinking a pint of Irish ale at John O’Farrell’s pub in Ballyporine. In honor of his arrival, the bar was renamed “Ronald Reagan”. In 2004, the entire interior of the bar, including the counter, display case, and beer taps, was moved to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

The president also has Irish roots, as his great-grandfather Michael was born in this country.

Global Look Press / Robert McNeely / CNP/AdMedia
Global Look Press / Robert McNeely / CNP/AdMedia

President Clinton has been to Ireland and Northern Ireland three times. The first trip took place in November 1995 and was timed to support the signing of a peace agreement with the Irish Unionists.

The second visit took place in September 1998 after the majority supported the Good Friday Agreement, which in many ways ended three decades of bloodshed.

The last trip, in December 2000, was made to break the political deadlock that had developed since the signing of the Belfast Agreement. / Tommy Dickson / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Tommy Dickson / CC BY-SA 2.0

About 10,000 people rallied under the slogan “Stop Bush” in Dublin in June 2004, when the president was in the southern part of the country for an EU-US summit. In Britain, this meeting was regarded as “a waste of time.” The total cost of events for the US President’s visit to Ireland was estimated at more than 3 million euros.

George W. Bush also visited Northern Ireland in 2003, shortly after the government formed under the peace deal collapsed. In 2008, he returned here again after the restoration of the institutions of power. / O'Dea at Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0 / O’Dea at Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Obama during his visit visited the village of Manigall, the birthplace of his great-great-great-grandfather, who left for New York more than 150 years ago.

In addition, the American president met with members of the public and drank a pint of Guinness at a local pub before delivering a 20-minute speech to a cheering crowd of about 25,000 people in downtown Dublin. He proclaimed solidarity between the United States and Ireland, which was then in a difficult economic situation.

Global Look Press / Olivier Douliery / Consolidated News Photos
Global Look Press / Olivier Douliery / Consolidated News Photos

Trump spent two days in Ireland in 2019, and spent most of that time at his golf resort in the west of the country. He did not appear in public. With Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the American leader met only at the airport.

Security at risk

On the eve of the visit, the counterintelligence department of MI-5 on March 28 increased the level of assessment of the terrorist threat in Northern Ireland to “high”.

Such measures did not help to avoid some incidents: a police car on April 11 has undergone attack in Northern Ireland, when law enforcement officials supervised an unsanctioned march to commemorate anniversary of the Easter Rising.

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In general, the British police paid a lot of attention to ensuring the security of Joe Biden’s visit. US President’s Journey cost law enforcement agencies of the country about 7 million pounds. About 300 employees from other parts of the UK traveled to Northern Ireland to maintain order.

The next embarrassing moment was a leak service documents. On April 12, a man found papers on the street containing the locations of officers in the center of Belfast, information about blocked roads and contact details of employees who will be responsible for ensuring security during Joe Biden’s trip. Police only became aware of the violation after the person who found the five-page document contacted The Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster.

Global Look Press / Arthur Allison / Pacemaker Press / XinHua
Global Look Press / Arthur Allison / Pacemaker Press / XinHua

“We are aware of a security breach. An investigation has been launched, and we have notified a senior officer of the department, ”said police representatives.

The results of the investigation have not yet been made public, and the remaining days of the visit passed without incident.

Visit progress

During the four-day visit of the incumbent American president, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, Biden visited Belfast, where he met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and also delivered a speech at the University of Ulster.

Global Look Press / Simon Walker/No 10 Downing Street / XinHua
Global Look Press / Simon Walker/No 10 Downing Street / XinHua

After Joe Biden held talks with Irish President Michael Higgins and Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, spoke at a joint meeting of the Irish Parliament, and also attended a banquet at Dublin Castle.

The official purpose of Biden’s visit is support new provisions of the Belfast Agreement, which have not yet been accepted by representatives of the Democratic Unionist Party. The President of the United States said that keeping the peace in Northern Ireland is a priority for both Democrats and Republicans in Washington and called for the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

As a friend, I hope it is not presumptuous of me to say that I believe that the democratic institutions created by the Good Friday Agreement continue to be critical to the future of Northern Ireland.

So I come to Belfast today to promise all the people of Northern Ireland that the United States of America will continue to be your partner in building the future the young people of our world deserve. This is important for us, for the Americans and for me personally. This is really important. Let’s celebrate 25 extraordinary years by re-committing to renew, rebuild, make this exceptional world the birthright of every child in Northern Ireland for all days to come,” the President of the United States said.

It is worth noting that the American President tried not to irritate the hardliners of the Democratic Unionist Party, which opposes the new agreement, and immediately added: “You should make this decision, not me.”

Global Look Press / White House / Keystone Press Agency
Global Look Press / White House / Keystone Press Agency

Overall, Biden has pledged $6 billion in investment in exchange for resolving the Northern Ireland crisis. US leader’s statement regarded as a thinly veiled ultimatum from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that the country risks losing billions of dollars if it does not return to power-sharing agreements.

In response, the leader of the DUP, Sir Geoffrey Donaldson, said that the visit of the American President “will not change the political dynamics in Northern Ireland, and making decisions for the country’s political leaders is not his job”; while other representatives of the faction emphasized that when America talks about corporate investment, “we get the crumbs” and the real money goes to the Republic of Ireland.

Global Look Press / Natalia Campos / Keystone Press Agency
Global Look Press / Natalia Campos / Keystone Press Agency

It is unlikely that Biden’s visit will have a significant impact on the course of the political process in Northern Ireland. Most likely, the real purpose of the visit of the American president was to attract the votes of the Irish electorate in the run-up to the US presidential election in 2024.


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