He has warned Boris Johnson that there will be no trade deal with the US if Brexit undermines the Good Friday Agreement.
But as Joe Biden moved closer to the White House last night, his own well-respected Irish roots were brought into the spotlight.
It came after a photo popped up showing his arm around an IRA refugee with the couple flanked by Gerry Adams, who said in a possibly red-hot claim that he had spoken to the former Vice President about a united Ireland.
The picture was taken only three years ago and it sparked warnings from British politicians that Mr Biden must be more careful about who he is associated with if he becomes president.
As Joe Biden moved closer to the White House last night, his own well-respected Irish roots were brought into the spotlight. He is pictured above with Gerry Adams and the IRA refugee Rita O’Hare
Mr Biden previously spoke with pride of his Irish Catholic roots in his Pennsylvania birthplace and traveled to County Mayo in 2016 to visit distant relatives.
However, the notoriously gawking ex-senator sparked anger the year before when he told an Irish delegation that no one wearing orange would be welcome in his home on St. Patrick’s Day, a comment that was used as a bow against Protestants is seen.
Mr. Biden was photographed in 2017 with the former Sinn Fein President Mr. Adams and with his arm around the then US representative of the party, Rita O’Hare.
In 1972 she was arrested in Northern Ireland for the attempted murder of a British Army officer in Belfast last year.
Released on bail, she fled to Dublin, where the Irish High Court ruled that she should not be extradited to Britain because her alleged crime was “political”. She is believed to be among nearly 200 IRA suspects who have been told they would not be prosecuted by Tony Blair’s government as part of the Northern Ireland peace process.
He has warned Boris Johnson that there will be no trade deal with the US if Brexit undermines the Good Friday Agreement
When Mr. Adams shared the photo on Twitter in September 2017, he wrote that they had a “good conversation” with Mr. Biden about the “North Talks, UI” [United Ireland] and Brexit ‘.
Following the meeting, Mr. Adams said he “stood up” for his help in asking the Trump administration to appoint a “special envoy for the peace process”.
“We also talked about the potentially very damaging effects of Brexit on the island of Ireland, particularly the impact on the border and the Good Friday Agreement,” he added.
Republican supporters in the strong Irish-American lobby see the prospect of a Biden presidency as a unique opportunity for Irish unity. Adams said at a rally this summer that it was now a “doable project”. .
The 72-year-old has claimed that he was a member of the government council of the IRA for years, but has always denied involvement in the terrorist group. Ms. O’Hare spent two decades representing Sinn Fein in North America before returning to Ireland last year.
In 2008, President-elect Barack Obama, under whom Mr. Biden served for two terms as Vice-President, was accused of “misjudgment” by unionists after having himself photographed with the same couple.
Last night, Mr Biden’s picture with the Sinn Fein numbers triggered similar warnings.
“I am sure this is an association that Mr Biden regrets,” said Paulborough Tory MP Paul Bristow, the son of an Army officer.
If he is confirmed as President-elect, the UK Government and the people of Northern Ireland expect him to be non-partisan in his approach to Northern Ireland affairs.
“Getting photographed with someone like Rita O’Hare is something all good-natured people should avoid.
‘It hurts the families of victims of the IRA terrorist attack.
“It would be especially wrong for the President-elect of the United States and not something that should be repeated.”
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Westminster leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, added: “Given Joe Biden’s Irish connections, it is important for him to recognize that protecting the peace process is about working with both sides and protecting the rights of unionists and Irish Republicans to uphold.
“We need a White House that addresses Northern Ireland in a balanced way while appreciating the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom as a whole.”
No one on Mr Biden’s campaign team returned a request for comment. Mr Biden’s maternal grandfather, Ambrose Finnegan, came to New York in 1850 at the age of seven at the end of the Great Famine in Ireland after his family emigrated from County Louth, north of Dublin.
Their ancestors had sold rotting algae as fertilizer to neighboring farms in order to lift themselves out of poverty.
According to Laurita Blewitt, a fourth cousin who met Mr Biden during his 2016 visit, Mr Biden “always said his mother raised him on such Irish values”.
But it sparked a storm on St. Patrick’s Day in 2015 when he spoke to a delegation led by then Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the doorstep of his residence: “If you wear orange you are not welcome here” before he added it was just kidding.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons, who represents Mr. Biden’s home state of Delaware and sits on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, said yesterday that Mr. Biden would be “concerned” if the post-Brexit British agreements undermined the peace process in Northern Ireland.
He told the BBC: “I assume that he would be concerned that the Good Friday Accords would be respected and protected, and that the way UK-EU negotiated terms would affect the stability of border conditions.” Northern states do not endanger Ireland. ‘
Boris Johnson’s controversial Single Market Act overwrites parts of the Brexit deal with the EU in relation to Northern Ireland in a way that critics claim could undermine the Good Friday Agreement.
Ministers, however, insist the opposite is true, saying the legislation is needed to prevent the introduction of a destabilizing trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Mr Coons said that, as President, Mr Biden would “reengage, reinvigorate and redefine our alliances and our relationships, especially our special relationship with the United Kingdom”.
A spokesman # 10 said yesterday: “The US is our closest ally. We are confident that the relationship will keep getting stronger. ‚
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