Nanci Pelosi, Speaker Emerita of the US House of Representatives, described the prospect of a united Ireland as an "exciting idea" but said it is up to the island of Ireland to decide.

“That’s a question for Ireland,” Pelosi said when asked if she would like to see a united Ireland during her lifetime.

Pelosi was in conversation with US Ambassador to Ireland Claire D. Cronin at the Ambassador's residence in Dublin as she became the inaugural recipient of the Fulbright Ireland Public Service Award on Sunday, April 21.

“As a schoolgirl in America, I would have thought that that was a great idea and why not do that?" Pelosi said, according to the PA. "So I carry that with me.

“What would be important about [that path] is how you arrive at it and I think it’s an exciting idea, but it’s up to the Irish to decide that.

“When you think of the Brits and their role in this and so much that has been overcome.

“As I said, when I was first coming here 30 years ago there were fisticuffs like ‘we’re going to go outside, not in the room, we’re going to go outside and settle this kind of thing’.

“And now there’s been so much progress.”

Pelosi went on to comment about Northern Ireland: “We’re very excited about the restoration of the Executive in Northern Ireland.

"It’s long overdue.

“To see an Executive, and I’m sorry it took so long, but I’m glad it’s there.

“We had to make it clear to the Brits and that’s what I said – if you think that messing with the Border is going to be a path to having a bilateral with the United States, forget about it.

“[Years ago] I went to the Border, and saw [the road markings] was just a different colour – yellow and white lines to distinguish one place to another. I would not have appreciated that had I not been to the Border.”

This evening at #Deerfield the Honorable Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi accepted the U.S.-Ireland Fulbright Public Service Award, marking her extraordinary contribution to public service and political life. It was an honor to host this event and hear about @SpeakerPelosi’s…

— Ambassador Claire Cronin (@USAmbIreland) April 21, 2024

Elsewhere during her conversation with Ambassador Cronin, Pelosi acknowledged that there are "differences of opinion" between Ireland and the US on the ongoing conflict in Gaza but said they are not "central" to the relationship between the two nations. 

"We learn from each other in these relationships as well," Pelosi said.

The former Speaker of the House, a Democrat, also addressed the upcoming US presidential election and said democracy will be at stake in the event of a victory for Donald Trump. 

"Nothing less is at stake than our democracy and my view, civilization as we know it today," Pelosi said. 

We are in a competition between autocracy and Democracy from Putin’s war on Ukraine to MAGA attacks on free and fair U.S. elections and the independence of our judiciary. We will continue to fight for freedom until victory is won. -NP

— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) April 22, 2024

Earlier on Sunday, Pelosi met President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin. 

For generations, Ireland has been the emerald thread in the fabric of American history and national life.

Yesterday, it was my privilege to meet with @PresidentIRL Michael D. Higgins to celebrate the enduring bonds of friendship between our countries.

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 22, 2024

On Monday, Pelosi met with Ireland's new Taoiseach Simon Harris.

.@SpeakerPelosi meets with Taoiseach @SimonHarrisTD at Government Buildings this morning. 🇺🇸🇮🇪

— U.S. Embassy Dublin (@USEmbassyDublin) April 22, 2024

She also attended a lunch in Leinster House hosted by the Irish Women's Parliamentary Caucus and Women For Election.

Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, attended a lunch in Leinster House hosted by the ‘Irish Women's Parliamentary Caucus’ & ‘Women For Election’. Guests included U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin, & Minister of State, Emer Higgins.

— Houses of the Oireachtas - Tithe an Oireachtais (@OireachtasNews) April 22, 2024

Later on Monday, Pelosi was at University College Dublin (UCD) to receive an honorary degree and the Sutherland Leadership Award at a Gala Dinner in the O’Reilly Hall.

The UCD events were set to be boycotted by the UCD Students' Union (UCDSU) and UCD Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group, who said they will not "stand by while our university celebrates and awards a war criminal and imperialist leader."

Martha Ní Riada, President of the UCD Students' Union, said on X on Monday that she had been "thrown out with excessive force" from Pelosi's honorary degree event.

I was thrown out with excessive force from Nancy Pelosi's honorary doctorate of law @ucddublin earlier today for representing the views of students as @UCDSU President. Why does UCD continue to platform Zionist warmongers whilst silencing students?

— Martha Ní Riada (@MarthaReidy) April 22, 2024