President Joe Biden will travel to the United Kingdom and Ireland from April 11-14, the White House confirmed today, April 5.
President Biden will first travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland from April 11-12 "to mark the tremendous progress since the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 25 years ago and to underscore the readiness of the United States to support Northern Ireland’s vast economic potential to the benefit of all communities."
The President will then travel to Ireland from April 12-14. Per the White House, Biden "will discuss our close cooperation on the full range of shared global challenges.
"He will also hold various engagements, including in Dublin, County Louth, and County Mayo, where he will deliver an address to celebrate the deep, historic ties that link our countries and people."
Additional information about the trip will be forthcoming, the White House statement concluded.
Wednesday's statement from the White House comes more than three weeks after Biden said it was his "intention to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic" to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
The focus from politicians in the North during President Biden's visit is likely to be on attracting US trade.
Northern Ireland’s first minister-designate Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin told a British Irish Chamber of Commerce dinner in Belfast that all the talk in the White House during her St. Patrick’s week visit was “investment, investment, investment.”
Reports from Irish government officials involved in planning the Biden visit itinerary say the President will start his stay overnight at Hillsborough Castle, outside Belfast, as a guest of Northern Ireland Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris.
Then he’s scheduled to visit Stormont at the invitation of its caretaker speaker, Alex Maskey of Sinn Féin. That could prove controversial given that the Northern Ireland Assembly and its cross-community government – a core achievement of the Good Friday Agreement – aren’t sitting. Nevertheless, Stormont assembly members from all parties including the Democratic Unionist Party will be invited to meet Biden there.
The final two days of the Presidential Irish visit will focus on Biden's Irish roots with stops in Co Mayo and Co Louth.
Between visits to his ancestral homes, Biden will meet President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar plans to host him and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at Farmleigh House inside Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
The President's five-day visit has prompted massive security operations. The terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland has been raised from “substantial” to “severe” by the UK’s MI5 security service. Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable Simon Byrne told the BBC that hundreds of specialist police officers will be recruited from England and Wales to help with security.
Leave and rest days for Gardaí (Irish police) have been canceled in the Republic for the duration of the visit, although this week the head of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), Noelle Cunningham, refused to rule out the possibility of industrial action during the visit of President Biden.
The Irish Daily Mirror reported that America’s Secret Service has ensured a ring of steel will be wrapped around the president. That will mean over 1,000 personnel from the Secret Service, An Garda Siochana and the Defence Forces on protection duty, while another 1,000 will be on standby off the country’s coast and in Britain.
Biden’s visit as a sitting president will be the ninth official trip to Ireland by an incumbent since John F. Kennedy’s first in June 1963. Seven more followed, with Donald Trump’s trip in June 2019 the last and most recent.