US President Joe Biden and Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheál Martin are meeting virtually today, St. Patrick’s Day, in Washington, DC.
The two leaders were set to meet in person for St. Patrick's Day at the White House on Thursday, but the Taoiseach tested positive for COVID-19 late last night, March 16, upending the St. Patrick’s Day plans in the Capitol.
President Biden said in a tweet on Thursday morning that he would be meeting virtually with Taoiseach Martin:
On this St. Patrick’s Day, I’m hosting a virtual bilat with Micheál Martin, Taoiseach of Ireland. I look forward to reaffirming the close and historic partnership between the United States and Ireland and the extraordinary bonds between our people.— President Biden (@POTUS) March 17, 2022
The virtual bilateral meeting will be streamed online:
Earlier in the day on March 16, before the Taoiseach tested positive for COVID, it was announced that the traditional Vice President's St. Patrick's Day breakfast would be canceled after Vice President Kamala Harris's husband Doug Emhoff tested positive for COVID.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Nearly one in ten Americans claim Irish roots—including @POTUS. Yesterday, I spoke with Taoiseach Micheál Martin and talked about the strong ties between the U.S. and Ireland, and the American and Irish people. Today is about celebrating these ties. pic.twitter.com/IcsEZel41i— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) March 17, 2022
Ahead of the COVID upheavals, the White House issued a statement revealing what the President and the Taoiseach were set to discuss on St. Patrick’s Day: “On March 17, President Joe Biden will host Micheál Martin, Taoiseach of Ireland, for a bilateral meeting and Shamrock presentation at the White House, continuing a longstanding St. Patrick’s Day tradition.
“The leaders will reaffirm the close and historic partnership between the United States and Ireland and the extraordinary bonds between our people. They will discuss their countries’ contributions to the international effort to support the people of Ukraine and to impose costs on Russia for its unprovoked and unjustified war.
"They will also talk about a range of global issues and shared priorities, including combatting the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, strengthening global health security, tackling the climate crisis, and working together on the United Nations Security Council.
“In addition, they will discuss their continued support for the Good Friday Agreement (also known as the Belfast Agreement)."
Speaking last week ahead of his meeting with Biden, the Taoiseach said: "Obviously we will discuss the Ukrainian crisis, that will be a key one.
"I think the importance of President Biden's agenda from the outset of really doing everything we possibly can to support democracies and human rights - which I think he has called out at the commencement of his presidency, when he said the world is polarising between democracies and authoritarian regimes.
"It's an opportunity to reset the Irish-US economic, and how that's maturing and evolving in respect of the number of Irish companies who are investing in the US - creating jobs in the US.
"And of course the American multinational companies who make such an enormous contribution to the Irish economy."
Elsewhere, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), the oldest and largest Irish Catholic organization in the US, is expecting the Taoiseach to raise the issue of Irish access to the E-3 visa scheme with the President.
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