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  • Writer's pictureGreg O'Loughlin

President Biden in Ireland for historic visit

President Joe Biden’s historic visit to Ireland this week started with a stop in Belfast for an address at Ulster University followed by a tour of many other stops on the island.

On Wednesday, First Minister Elect Michelle O’Neill said, “I was delighted to welcome President Joe Biden to Belfast today, cementing our partnership for peace and prosperity with the United States of America.

“It is great to see President Biden so deeply invested in the continued transformation of our society, and I welcome his commitment to working with us to build a brighter, better future for all our people.

“Twenty five years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, we must now work together to seize the exciting opportunities ahead of us in a new Executive.

“Striving forward as one to attract investment, create jobs for our young people, and ensure that all communities reap the rewards of our peace. Leading an Executive that delivers prosperity for every citizen is my priority.”

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said, “President Biden's visit is an important time to reflect on twenty five years of building peace in which the USA played a key role. But crucially we need to look forward & deliver for everyone in the north of Ireland, and to do that we need the institutions up & running”

"There are challenges ahead, but also enormous opportunities & we need to grasp them.

"This is an extraordinary island, with extraordinary people...We're not reaching our full potential, but we can. And I believe there is a generation of people who have an appetite for that."

Later in the visit, President Biden addressed a joint sitting of the houses of the Oireachtas. It was the first time an American President addressed the body since 1995.

After the event, First Minister Elect Michelle O’Neil said, “A heartfelt and passionate address by President Biden here in the Oireachtas. I agree that our peace is precious and still needs its champions and needs to be nurtured. I take that responsibility to heart. Indeed our greatest achievement is that an entire generation have no checkpoint on their dreams. From words to deeds let’s keep moving forward from this 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

"I’m a good Friday agreement generation leader, I am someone who is committed to building a better future for everyone here. His message very much chimes with what I am trying to achieve, which is that political parties here do actually work together, that we fulfill the promise and the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement. It is so important that we are all around the Executive table actually trying to deliver for the people on a day-to-day basis, taking on the big issues of the day.”

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