Administration

Irish prime minister tells Biden he’ll ‘roll out the red carpet’ for visit

President Biden on Friday hosted Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for St. Patrick’s Day at the White House, a holiday celebration close to the president’s heart that is expected to precede his own visit to Ireland.

“It’s good to have you back in the Oval Office, Taoiseach,” Biden said during a meeting with the Irish leader. “It’s a big day in my grandparents’ household, our household, big day here. And I know a bigger day at home.”

Biden, who often references his Irish heritage and frequently quotes Irish poet William Butler Yeats, hosted Varadkar for a bilateral meeting at the White House. The two will attend a luncheon on Capitol Hill with lawmakers to mark St. Patrick’s Day, followed by a celebration back at the White House for staffers and guests.

The president is expected to visit Ireland in the coming weeks to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which ended the Northern Ireland conflict. The anniversary will fall next month.

The White House has not officially confirmed Biden’s travel, but Varadkar said he was “looking forward” to the president’s visit.

“I promise you that we’re going to roll out the red carpet and it’s going to be a visit like no other. Everyone’s excited about it already,” Varadkar said. “We’re going to have great crowds who would love to see you, and look forward to talking about some of the details a bit later.”

Biden and Varadkar both spoke about their shared commitment to Ukraine in its war against Russia and the two signaled they would also discuss the Windsor Framework, aimed at allowing goods to flow freely to Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

The framework, agreed to last month between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, was finalized in Windsor near London and ends a dispute that has loomed since the U.K. voted in 2016 to leave the European Union.

Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., shares a border with Ireland, which is a member of the European Union. The U.K.’s exit from the EU sparked renewed concerns about the possibility of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, upsetting the Good Friday Agreement, which has maintained peace for more than two decades.

Tags Ireland Joe Biden Leo Varadkar President Joe Biden William Butler Yeats

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