St. Patrick’s Day is being marked in Washington, DC today, Friday, March 17, with Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attending high-level engagements.
Varadkar and his partner Matthew Barrett attended a St. Patrick's Day breakfast at the Naval Observatory hosted by US Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff this morning.
“Madame @VP, in particular, today, I want to acknowledge the central role which the United States has played in the peace process on our island, driving it forward at critical junctures, when few others could have.” pic.twitter.com/F7o00cmWVa— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) March 17, 2023
Afterward, US President Joe Biden hosted a bilateral meeting with Varadkar at 10:30 am local time in the Oval Office of the White House.
At noon local time, Biden and Varadkar will attend the Friends of Ireland Caucus St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon. A live stream of the luncheon will begin at 1 pm EDT.
The Friends of Ireland Caucus was formed in 1981 by 26 bipartisan legislators, including then-Senator Joe Biden. Today it is chaired by fellow founder Congressman Richie Neal.
At 5 pm local time, the Taoiseach will present the President with a bowl of shamrock - a longstanding tradition - during a reception at the White House. This event will also be live streamed from 5 pm EDT.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced on March 16 that Irish singer-songwriter Niall Horan would be performing at the White House as part of the St. Patrick’s Day events.
Horan, from Co Westmeath and formerly a member of One Direction, said it was an "honour to be invited."
It’s an honour to be invited and represent my country. Looking forward to performing and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at the White House tomorrow 🇮🇪☘️🇺🇸 https://t.co/iGODUCH4f2— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) March 16, 2023
Friday will be the first in-person St. Patrick's Day meeting between a US President and a Taoiseach since 2019 when Varadkar met with then-President Trump.
In 2020, Varadkar was in the US for St. Patrick's Day engagements with Trump, but his visit was cut short due to the global onset of coronavirus. In 2021, Taoiseach Micheál Martin did not travel due to the pandemic and instead attended the White House meeting with Biden virtually. In 2022, Martin was in Washington, DC, but tested positive for COVID on March 16, forcing the March 17 meeting to again go virtual.
Today's meeting between Biden and Varadkar comes the same week that Biden said "it is my intention to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic" in April for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.