Biden says he visited Ireland to ‘make sure the Brits didn’t screw around’

Joe Biden says he visited the island of Ireland last month to make sure the “Brits didn’t screw around”.

The US president – who is vocal about his Irish ancestry – made the comments at an event for the Democratic Party in New York on Wednesday.

He visited Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in April to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, and also to visit his family’s ancestral home.

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In remarks published later on the White House website, Mr Biden said: “I got to go back to Ireland for the Irish Accords… to make sure the Brits didn’t screw around and Northern Ireland didn’t walk away from their commitments.”

Mr Biden met with Rishi Sunak as part of the trip in Northern Ireland – but he spent most of the four-day visit in the Republic.

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The trip also took place after the UK and EU agreed and signed the Windsor Framework, which the groups hope will fix the problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol and allow a government to be restored.

But power sharing has not yet returned, with the Democratic Unionist Party refusing to rejoin proceedings at Stormont.

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Downing Street said today that Mr Sunak’s Brexit deal with the EU was about “protecting” the Good Friday Agreement, when asked about what Mr Biden said.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “You will know that, obviously, the Windsor Framework was a culmination of substantive work between the UK and the EU, and at its heart the UK priority was always protecting the Good Friday Agreement.”