He will spend four days in the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, which ended three decades of conflict on the island.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will begin his four-day tour of the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement that ended three decades of conflict on the island.

The White House revealed Monday the keys to the trip and assured that Biden, of Irish origin on his mother’s side, is eager to set course for the land of his ancestors.

“The president is looking forward to this trip and to celebrating the deep historic ties that bind our two countries and that our two peoples continue to share,” said John Kirby, a White House spokesman, at a press conference.

According to Kirby, Biden will arrive Tuesday evening in Belfast and will be met at the airport by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whom he met in March in San Diego to announce with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese a new plan to develop nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS security pact.

On Wednesday, Biden and Sunak will hold a bilateral meeting, after which the U.S. leader will give a speech at the new campus of the University of Ulster in the Northern Irish capital.

The U.S. leader will highlight in his speech “the tremendous progress” that has been made following the signing of the Good Friday agreement and will also underline the U.S. willingness to “preserve those achievements” and support the economic development of Northern Ireland.

His agenda will not include a visit to Stormont Castle, seat of the Northern Irish devolved assembly and whose power-sharing government has been suspended for more than a year because of pro-British unionism’s rejection of Brexit arrangements for the region.

Some sectors in Northern Ireland have taken a dim view of this absence and consider, moreover, that the leader does not have enough events in the British province.

In fact, after spending a few hours in Northern Ireland, the U.S. president will head for the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.

Specifically, after the speech at the University of Ulster, he will head to County Louth, the birthplace of the President’s great-grandfather, James Finnegan.

The Finnegan clan, whose blood came to Biden on his mother’s side, lived in Louth for years before crossing the ocean to start a new life in the United States and, like many other Irish, flee the lack of opportunities that characterized the period of the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849).

In County Louth itself, Biden will tour King John’s Castle, also known as Carlingford Castle, built in the late 12th century.

According to the White House, Biden will spend Wednesday night in Dublin and on Thursday will meet with the President of the Republic of Ireland, Michael Higgins, at his official residence in Áras an Uachtaráin.

The meeting will have a highly symbolic content as the two plan to plant trees together and ring the so-called “peace bell”.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Biden will meet with the Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, with whom he met at the White House in March on St. Patrick’s Day, the patron saint of Ireland.

After meeting with Higgins and Varadkar, Biden will appear before the Irish Parliament, meeting in joint session, and will praise the cooperation between Ireland and the United States to advance democracy, peace, security and prosperity, the White House said.

Thursday will conclude with a gala dinner at Dublin Castle.

Biden will conclude his tour on Friday with a visit to County Mayo, where part of his maternal family also comes from, and where he is scheduled to give a speech on U.S.-Ireland ties.

That speech will take place at Ballina Cathedral, which holds a very important place in Biden’s heart.

According to Kirby, the president’s great-great-grandfather sold some 27,000 bricks to the cathedral in 1827 and, with the money he raised, was able to buy the tickets with which the family migrated to the United States years later, in 1851.

Those bricks were also used to build the majestic cathedral.

The president will take advantage of his presence in May to visit the Knock Shrine, an important Catholic pilgrimage site.

Biden and his entire entourage will spend Friday night in Dublin and will return to the United States on Saturday morning.

Categorized in:

Tagged in: