Biden Meets Ireland’s President in Dublin

April 13, 2023

President Biden met with Ireland’s President Michael Higgins in Dublin on Thursday.

Higgins and his wife Sabina greeted Biden at his home, called “Áras an Uachtaráin,” or “House of the President,” in Irish. 

As Head of State, the President of Ireland is elected every seven years. Higgins was elected to his first term on November 11, 2011.

The governmental leader of Ireland is the Prime Minister, or “Taoiseach,” whom the President appoints after he or she is approved by other members of the government. 

Ireland’s current Prime Minister is Leo Varadkar, who greeted Biden at Dublin’s airport on Wednesday, and with whom Biden is set to hold a bilateral meeting later Thursday at Farmleigh House in Dublin, a guest estate constructed in the 1800s by the Guinness family.

Biden is also expected on Thursday to give a speech emphasizing U.S. support for the Good Friday Peace Agreement, which ended thirty years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. This week marks the agreement’s 25th anniversary. Biden began his four-day visit to the Emerald Isle with a visit to Northern Ireland, where in Belfast he also spoke of the significance of the Good Friday agreement. 

During his meeting with Higgins, Biden also planned to take part in a tree planting ceremony and the ringing of the Peace Bell, which was unveiled at the President’s House in 2008 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement.

During a trip that’s both diplomatic and personal, on Wednesday evening Biden took part in a community gathering in Dundalk, County Louth, the home of his maternal Finnegan ancestors. Biden is set to visit his Blewitt ancestral home in County Mayo on Friday. 

According to the Irish Family History Centre, Biden “is among the most ‘Irish’ of all U.S. Presidents.” Ten of his 16 great-great grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland during the Great Famine in the mid-1800s.

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