Ukraine to dominate Taoiseach’s St Patrick’s Day meeting with US president

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said his meeting with US President Joe Biden this week will be dominated by discussions around the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

However, Mr Martin said they would also discuss economic ties and the impact of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

Mr Martin is currently in US capital Washington for the traditional St Patrick’s Day celebrations, which will include an audience with Mr Biden on Thursday.

He spoke to the media at the Irish Embassy after chairing a virtual meeting of the Irish cabinet which focused on the humanitarian response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

Mr Martin said his meeting with Mr Biden this week would be a meeting of “one Irishman with another Irishman”.

He added: “Obviously, Ukraine will be the dominant issue and I think it will be important reaffirming and working through the relationship between the European Union and the United States, and how well that has worked in the context of this crisis.


“The President has been very strong in terms of the need for that multi-lateral system, in terms of the need for the restoration of the strong trans-Atlantic alliance that has always existed between Europe and the US, and he has been very effective in that regard.

“No more so than in respect of the current Ukrainian crisis. To be fair to the American government, our sense is they have called this right all along in terms of sharing their intelligence.

“Also working with EU countries in terms of sanctions.”

The Taoiseach said he would also be raising the issue of undocumented Irish currently living in the US.

He said: “Also, how can we work the existing channels of legal migration between the US and Ireland?

“We have to develop new mechanisms which develop a two-way exchange between our two countries which are legal exchanges of people.”

Mr Martin added: “We also want to discuss the economic relationship between Ireland and the United States, which is a powerful relationship, not just in terms of the American multi-nationals which are present in Ireland, but also the number of Irish companies which are located in America creating thousands of jobs.

US President Joe Biden will meet the Taoiseach this week (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

“It is a very strong, mutual economic relationship and the culture and artistic relationship is also particularly strong.”


The Taoiseach said he would be meeting with several senior US politicians to discuss the Good Friday Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He said: “We will also be thanking the president for his steadfast support of the Good Friday Agreement and the ongoing concern about the Good Friday Agreement, and indeed issues around the protocol and the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.

“We will discuss those issues with senior politicians over the course of this week. Reaffirming our position in terms of the importance of making sure that the Good Friday Agreement is not undermined but also that the protocol works and works effectively.

“The more and more we talk to people in Northern Ireland in industry and in business, the more it emerges that all want continued access to the European single market, the vast majority see it as very beneficial to inward investment into Northern Ireland.

“There are issues around the level of checks, the amount of checks and so on, we have taken those on board, so has the European Union, I believe it should be possible between the EU and the UK to resolve this.”