Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.33 4 Nov 2020


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Locals in the Mayo town of Ballina say the whole community is behind Joe Biden for US president.

Mr Biden's great-great-great grandfather, Edward Blewitt, left the town during the Great Famine.

Laurita Blewitt is Mr Biden's cousin. She told Henry McKean reporting for Pat Kenny they are very happy to have a close relationship.

"I'm sure he's pretty chuffed about it - I know we are anyway.

"We're delighted to have the relationship with him, and that friendship is very strong now over the last couple of years.

"He's been very resilient and we've seen that over the last couple of months against all his competitors in the Democratic race.

"And of course to have the peace of mind to be able to control himself around Donald Trump a lot of the time".

Asked if a White House win would affect her, she said: "I don't know about will it change my life on a day-to-day basis, but I certainly will be happy about it.

"And we'll be expecting an invitation to the White House at the quickest opportunity, I suppose."

"I was with him in February on his campaign trail, and he said to me before I left he'd be very excited to get back to Ireland as soon as possible - hopefully as the president, and we're all hopeful of that too".

Laurita's brother, Joe Blewitt, has previously told Newstalk how he uses the family name to help his plumbing business.

"On the back of the van it says 'Joe Biden for the White House, Joe Blewitt for your house'.

"Ballina is twined with Scranton anyway, and that's where Joe Biden's family are from originally.

"It was just twined years ago, and it's amazing how it worked out".

'Son of Ballina'

One local man told Henry McKean: "Biden is a son of Ballina, I think it was his great grandfather came from here.

"But there's a serious aspect to this as well - because it's very important that Trump doesn't continue to lead the free world for another four years.

"He's a misogynist and a racist.

"I've a son here of 15, he'll be a young man by the time this term of the presidency in America is over, and it's very important for us that Biden wins it".

Another man, Owen Duffy, said: "This is a massive, massive boost for Ballina in the middle of the pandemic.

"It's given us such hope and a great boost of excitement - and you see the cavalcade going around the town [which] really shows that the whole of Ballina is behind Biden for this election".

Mayo Councillor Mark Duffy said: "The connections to Ballina with Joe Biden's family are very strong, he's visited the town on two occasions".

"I think it would be incredibly impressive - it's a beautiful story of emigration: how his ancestors left during the famine [and] one of their descendants has now gone on [to be] the next president of the United States.

"I think everyone would be incredibly proud".

'The whole of Ballina is behind Biden' - Mayo locals celebrate Joe Biden

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
    
Main image: A Joe Biden mural painted in Ballina, Co Mayo. Picture by: Henry McKean

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Ballina Co. Mayo Joe Biden Joe Biden Ballina Joe Blewitt Laurita Blewitt Mark Duffy Owen Duffy US Election

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