Joe Biden to address Irish parliament before banquet

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US President Joe Biden will address the Irish parliament on Thursday as his visit to the island of Ireland continues with a series of official engagements in Dublin.

Before his address to both houses of the Oireachtas, Mr Biden will visit President of Ireland Michael D Higgins at his official residence in Phoenix Park and will also have a meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar at nearby Farmleigh House.

At Farmleigh, the president will be invited to watch a sports demonstration by young gaelic games players.

After his parliamentary address on Thursday afternoon, Mr Biden will attend a banquet in his honour at Dublin Castle hosted by Taoiseach Mr Varadkar.

His first full day of engagements on Wednesday began in Northern Ireland and saw him deliver a keynote address in Belfast.

In his speech to Ulster University, Mr Biden expressed hopes of a return to powersharing at Stormont as he insisted stable devolved government could deliver an economic windfall for the region.

His visit north of the border came as the region marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark Good Friday peace accord that created Stormont’s institutions.

After his address in Belfast, Mr Biden travelled to Dublin and from there to Co Louth, where he can trace some of his Irish ancestors.

People lined the streets in Carlingford and Dundalk to cheer and wave American flags as Mr Biden arrived.

In a speech at a pub in Dundalk on Wednesday evening he described how he felt like he had come home.

His remarks also included an apparent gaffe when the President appeared to confuse the All Blacks rugby team with the Black and Tans, a contentious police unit from Ireland’s War of Independence era.

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.

Mr Biden appeared to mix up the nickname of the New Zealand team, the All Blacks, with the Black and Tans.

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.”

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