https://www.oann.com/biden-irelands-martin-meet-virtually-as-covid-derails-st-patricks-day-plans/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=biden-irelands-martin-meet-virtually-as-covid-derails-st-patricks-day-plans

U.S. President Joe Biden participates in a bilateral videoconference with Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheal Martin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis

March 18, 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden hosted Ireland’s leader for a virtual St. Patrick’s Day visit on Thursday amid the pandemic after Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin tested positive for COVID-19 following his arrival in Washington.

While Martin’s illness raised concerns that Biden, 79, may also have been exposed to the coronavirus after the two leaders briefly met on Wednesday, the annual celebration of Irish culture was enthusiastically embraced by the Biden White House.

A fountain on the North Lawn was dyed green, the president sported a green tie, while a bunch of shamrocks were peeking out of his jacket breast pocket, and he referenced his Irish heritage frequently.

In a virtual call with Martin, Biden reiterated U.S. support for the Good Friday accord between Britain and Ireland on how Northern Ireland should be governed, and expressed disappointment that he and Martin could not meet in person. The two also discussed Russia’s war in Ukraine and the need to support Kyiv.

Later, at the annual “Friends of Ireland” luncheon at the U.S. Capitol, the Reverend Thomas O’Connor’s opening prayer name-checked Guinness beer, Jameson’s whiskey and the Blarney Stone.

Biden said the luncheon was a good time for Democrats and Republicans to “remind ourselves we actually like each other.” He quoted Irish poet William Butler Yeats: “talent perceives differences, genius unity.”

Irish Americans “think they’re more Irish than the Irish,” he said, adding that was how he was raised. “I was – it was imbued in me to be … proud of my heritage.”

At an evening event at the White House with his wife Jill, Biden noted he usually likes to be introduced as Jill Biden’s husband “but today I am Catherine Eugenia Finnegan’s son.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland; writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chris Gallagher, Heather Timmons and Jonathan Oatis)

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