Joe Biden's Irish visit likely to take place 'across five days'

President Biden will visit Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.56 19 Mar 2023

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Joe Biden's Irish visit likely...

Joe Biden's Irish visit likely to take place 'across five days'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.56 19 Mar 2023

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The upcoming visit by President Joe Biden to Ireland looks likely to be no less than five days long.

That's according to former Irish ambassador to the US Michael Collins, who was speaking after President Biden confirmed he would visit Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Collins told Taking Stock such visits require a lot of planning.


"We should never take these visits for granted or that they happen as a matter of course - they don't," he said.

"A lot of work goes into making them happen, making sure that circumstances are right.

"There haven't been that many US presidents here in the history of the relationship.

"There's only been five actual, formal visits from the United States to Ireland.

"The last occasion was now all of 12 years back when President Obama came here in 2011.

"They're extremely important".

'Up to five days long'

Mr Collins said the trip is likely to be across several days.

"This, by all accounts, is going to be up to five days long," he said.

"It's a huge operation and of course... all the agencies of the State will be involved.

"Not just is it a single location visit to Dublin, but obviously you're looking at the prospect of a multi-locational visit as well to Carlingford, to Mayo possibly and indeed elsewhere.

"It is an enormous operation involving thousands of personnel, on the American side in particular, but of course a considerable number of personnel here on the Irish side as well".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) presents US President Joe Biden with the traditional St Patrick's Day bowl of shamrock. Picture by: Marty Katz

Mr Collins said President Biden feels a particular affinity for Ireland.

"Of all the [US] Presidents, and that would almost include President Kennedy, [Joe Biden] feels extraordinarily Irish," he said.

"He asserts very clearly, he says 'I am Irish', and his whole purpose is obviously to support the [peace] process.

"It really, really is important not just to the United States - but to him personally - that the United States should be at the wheel on this supporting the two governments, but also obviously encouraging the parties along the way as well.

"If you're an American business person looking to invest in Europe... here's a big signal that the island of Ireland is one that has a very, very special relationship with the United States.

"One that the President of the United States is prepared to celebrate, not just over one day or over two days - but apparently over no less than five days."

'Logistical challenge'

Mr Collins said such visits are usually suggested from "day one."

"I remember I was there from day one with President Obama, and of course we extended a formal invitation to President Obama on the first occasion that the Taoiseach met him in March 2009.

"We're never slow with the invitation to the President of the United States to come.

"It's another matter, of course, delivering on that and seeking to encourage that visit to take place.

"Finding dates that actually work can be a real, real challenge.

"The last time around when President Obama came in May 2011, it was right back-to-back with the royal visit of Queen Elizabeth.

"That was quite a logistical challenge," he added.

Listen back below:

Main image: Split-screen image shows file photos of US President Joe Biden and Air Force One

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Carlingford Dublin Good Friday Agreement Irish Ambassador To The US Irish Visit Joe Biden Mayo Michael Collins President Obama Taking Stock

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