Joe Biden will embark on his first overseas trip as president in June - will Ireland be added to the itinerary?
The White House is reportedly finalizing plans with Buckingham Palace to facilitate a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Queen Elizabeth when Biden is in the UK next month for the G7 Summit.
Citing a US official, CNN reports: “This face-to-face greeting, during which Biden would be joined by first lady Jill Biden, is expected to take place before the President leaves the United Kingdom following the Group of 7 summit and heads to Brussels for a NATO meeting on June 14.
“He is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16 in Switzerland.”
An official announcement regarding the meeting between President Biden and Queen Elizabeth is expected within the coming days.
Should the meeting go ahead, President Biden will become the 13th US President to meet with Queen Elizabeth, who has met with every US President except for Lyndon B. Johnson during her nearly 70 years as monarch.
With plans being finalized for Biden’s first presidential trip abroad, the question of an Irish visit, no matter how brief, still lingers.
Biden, who regularly touts his Irish roots, reportedly told his Irish cousin Laurita Blewitt while still on the campaign trail last year: “My priority as President will be to come to Ireland."
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has already extended an invite for the President to visit, which, not surprisingly, Biden was very receptive to.
“When I invited President Biden to Ireland, he just said, 'try and keep me out.' So it won’t be any lack of enthusiasm on his side," Martin remarked in January, ahead of Biden's inauguration.
Biden last visited Ireland in an official capacity in 2016 when he was Vice President under President Obama. His trip featured stops in Dublin, Mayo, and Louth. Later, in September 2017, Biden was on hand in Co Mayo to preside over the official sod-turning ceremony of the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice unit where his cousin Blewitt is employed.
Further fueling some speculation is the official statement announcing Biden’s first presidential trip overseas, issued by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on April 23, which leaves some room for changes to the itinerary: “We look forward to having further details to share about this trip soon, including potential additional elements.”
Biden's confirmed visit to the UK also comes as the White House continues to indicate that it is "closely monitoring issues in Northern Ireland."
Psaki said during a White House press briefing on May 25: "We welcome the provisions in both the trade deal between the United Kingdom and European Union and Northern Ireland Protocol that will help — which will help protect the gains of the Belfacs [sic] — Belfast Good Friday Agreement."
Perhaps a US Presidential visit to the island of Ireland would help further amplify that support?
Whenever he decides to make a presidential visit to Ireland, Biden will no doubt have a warm reception, especially in towns in Co Mayo and Co Louth which were decked out in pro-Biden decorations amidst the 2020 US presidential election and inauguration.