Biden jokes he’s ‘really not Irish’ as he marks St Patrick’s Day with Irish PM

United States President Joe Biden on Friday cracked multiple jokes related to his Irish ancestry as he marked St Patrick’s Day with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the White House.

The 80-year-old president attended the Friends of Ireland Luncheon with Varadkar and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), where he spoke on their shared Irish heritage and the friendly ties between the two countries.

“I’ve been to Ireland many times, but not to actually look up, to find my actual family members. And there are so many – and they actually weren’t in jail,” said Biden, recalling his six-day visit to the nation during which he met his relatives.

“There’s still a place called Finnegan’s pub … that’s related to my family. I’m the only Irishman you ever met, though, that’s never had a drink, so I’m OK. I’m really not Irish,” he added.

McCarthy, who has Irish ancestry, said that he is willing to work together with Biden. Responding to that, Biden said, “I agree with the speaker, there’s no reason why we can’t find common ground. There’s no reason why we can’t hope to change this direction of the extremes in both parties are pushing.”

“I think it’s important. I think it’s really important. And that’s the power of friendship. I think it’s the power of – it’s the strength of our partnership, if we work at it, and simply put, I think it’s the Irish of it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Biden, who was sporting a sprig of shamrock in his lapel, held a meeting with Varadkar in the Oval Office, where he said that Saint Patrick’s is a “big day” in his house.

Varadkar emphasised recent assistance by the United States over the trade rules between Britain and its Northern Irish province and the Republic of Ireland.

The arrangement, called the Windsor Framework, is an “agreement that lasts,” said Varadkar, adding “which is important for Northern Ireland, and also important for British-Irish and European relations.”

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He ensured that Biden will have a good time on his upcoming visit to Ireland, which is likely to coincide with the US-brokered Good Friday Agreement’s 25th anniversary.

“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. We’re going to have great crowds who would love to see you,” Varadkar said. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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