Biden makes apparent mistaken reference to Black and Tans during Louth speech

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US president Joe Biden appeared to confuse the name of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team with a contentious War of Independence-era police force in Ireland during a speech in Co Louth.

Mr Biden was speaking at the Windsor Bar in Dundalk, when he referred to the shamrock tie that he was wearing.

The US president was thanking relative and former Irish rugby player Rob Kearney for the gift of the Irish team tie after a victory against the New Zealand rugby team at Soldier Field in Chicago in 2016.

President Biden visit to the island of Ireland
Joe Biden was wearing the tie on his trip to Co Louth (PA/Niall Carson)

The Black and Tans is a name for additional part-time officers recruited to bolster Royal Irish Constabulary numbers in Ireland during the War of Independence, many of whom gained a violent reputation.

He said: “See this tie I have, this shamrock tie?

“It was given to by one of these guys right here, who’s a hell of a rugby player who beat the hell out of the Black and Tans.”

Correcting himself after grimacing, Mr Biden continued: “Ah god. But, but it was when you were at Soldier Field, wasn’t it? Chicago.

“After it was all over he gave my brother, allegedly for me – but if it wasn’t I still took it – I still got the tie.

“I wore it with great pride.”

The RIC was disbanded following the partition of Ireland in 1921 and replaced by An Garda Siochana.

Concluding the speech, Mr Biden added: “Thank you all for the homecoming welcome, the bad news for all of you is we’ll be back.

“There’ll be no way to keep us out.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, we love you.”

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