White House reveal St Patrick’s Day plan for virtual meeting between Taoiseach and US President Joe Biden
White House reveals St Patrick’s Day plan for the virtual meeting between Taoiseach and US President Joe Biden.
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THE White House has revealed the plans for this year’s meeting between Taoiseach Micheal Martin and US President Joe Biden.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, instead of the Taoiseach flying over to the US for the big day, the meeting will virtually occur.
The traditional meeting typically takes place in the US[/caption]
Taoiseach Micheal Martin will not fly to the US this year[/caption]
President Joe Biden will host the virtual meeting next week[/caption]
A statement from the White House said President Biden would host a “virtual bilateral meeting” with Taoiseach Martin.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “They will reaffirm the deep, historic partnership and extraordinary people-to-people ties between the United States and Ireland.”
She continued: “Although the pandemic prevents the traditional White House celebration of St Patrick’s Day this year, we look forward to marking this holiday and our close relationship with Ireland in a safe way.”
The two leaders will also discuss battling the Covid-19 pandemic, global challenges, shared prosperity, and supporting political and economic stability in Northern Ireland.
Last year, then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar traveled to the US to meet former President Donald Trump for the occasion. From the States, Varadkar announced the first lockdown restrictions for Ireland at the beginning of the pandemic.
It comes as pressure mounts on the Taoiseach to use his St Patrick’s Day meeting with President Biden to ask for help in securing vaccines for Ireland, with reports claiming millions of AstraZeneca jabs are gathering dust in American warehouses.
Fianna Fail MEP Billy Kelleher urged Taoiseach Micheal Martin to raise the subject with the US President when they meet virtually next week.
Asked about the reports about AstraZeneca jabs lying idle in the U.S, the Taoiseach said that he had spoken to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and she said she had been told “many narratives” about the AstraZeneca story.
When questioned whether he would ask U.S President Joe Biden for vaccine help, the Taoiseach said: “We will discuss Covid and vaccines with the President; of course, we will have that discussion.
“The focus will be on the relationship between Europe and the U.S. because that is a key relationship because, of course, different stages of the vaccine development can happen both in Europe and in the U.S.
“We’re both interdependent in terms of parts, in terms of the substance being exported from Europe and so on and visa versa.
“So there is an ongoing discussion between Europe and the U.S., and it’s in that context I will have that discussion as well with the American President.”
President Biden this week promised that all US citizens would be offered their first vaccine dose by May 1 as he claimed America would start to return to normal by Independence Day on July 4.