Visiting friends: Joe Biden in Ireland
Following his visit to Belfast to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, US President Joe Biden spent three days in the Republic of Ireland. In a speech before the parliament in Dublin, he emphasised the historical ties between the US and Ireland and his Irish roots. Commentators also discuss how the past is connected to the challenges of the present.
Not the land of his ancestors
Modern Ireland has little in common with its image as presented by the US president, columnist Mark Piggott explains in The Times:
“Ireland’s taoiseach is a gay man of Indian descent; religion, at least of the Catholic variety, is in terminal decline after decades of scandal. Last weekend in Cork we visited the multi-ethnic Marina Market and ate Mexican fajitas while drinking American beer and watching English football on a Japanese TV. Like it or not, this is the new Ireland. When Biden jokes about the Irish being drunk and says things like, ‘I may be Irish, but I’m not stupid,’ it’s hard to know whether he has any understanding of the place at all.”
Recognition for Irish and also for EU
Biden’s three-day visit has sent several messages, Le Monde concludes:
“One is addressed to US voters, 30 million of whom, like Biden, claim to be of Irish descent, with the president proudly recalling his humble origins and citing ‘courage’ and ‘confidence’ as common Irish and American traits. The other is addressed to Europeans and highlights the importance of the EU. Before peace in Ireland was endangered by Brexit, it was largely facilitated by the membership of the two parts of the island in the Union. Europeans must continue to do all they can to preserve it.”