WASHINGTON — Drawing on his own family history, U.S. President Joe Biden told Irish lawmakers that the story of Irish immigrants to the United States is at the heart of “what connects Ireland and America.”
“Like many other countries in the world, perhaps more than most, the United States has been shaped by Irish influence,” Biden told a joint session of the Houses of Parliament. . “The values we share continue to form the basis of the historic partnership between our peoples and our governments.”
In his speech, Biden stressed the importance of economic ties, a united front in the war in Ukraine and common efforts to fight climate change.
He addressed Parliament as part of his four-day visit to Ireland and Northern Ireland, where he also met political leaders and made a brief trip to the town where his ancestors once lived.
The president used poetic imagery to talk about how the two countries “can dream together of unseen horizons”.
“These stories are at the heart of what connects Ireland and America,” he said. “They bear witness to a history defined by our dreams.”
In his speech, Biden said the UK “should work more closely” with Ireland to support Northern Ireland.
His reminder of the importance of peacekeeping in Northern Ireland is likely to irritate some British Conservatives and Northern Irish Unionists who are wary of American interference.
Biden acknowledged his ancestors emigrated to the United States to escape starvation, but added, “When you’re here, you wonder why anyone even wants to leave.”
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