Biden praises Irish efforts over Ukraine war during meeting with the Taoiseach

US president Joe Biden has hailed Irish leadership for its handling of the Ukrainian crisis.

During a virtual St Patrick’s Day meeting with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Mr Biden also reaffirmed the US administration’s “unequivocal support” for the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Biden, who identifies deeply with his own Irish heritage, was seated beside a traditional bowl of shamrock during the bilateral meeting.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin called for “unity of purpose” over Ukraine (Oliver Contreras/PA)

He quoted Irish poet WB Yeats as he described the impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had on the world.

“All changed, changed utterly – a terrible beauty has been born,” he said.

Mr Biden said Irish leadership on the issue has been “noticeable and impressive”.

Both leaders condemned the invasion, with the Taoiseach speaking about the need for a “unity of purpose”.

Mr Biden praised Ireland’s willingness to take in refugees, adding: “What Ireland is doing now, what you are doing, taking in Ukrainian refugees, speak so loudly about your principles.


“And it’s amazing, and I want to publicly compliment you for it.

“I think you’ve already brought in over 7,000 or so refugees from Ukraine, and you’re prepared to do more, so thank you.”

Mr Martin also thanked Mr Biden for the US’ backing of the Good Friday Agreement.

He praised the “steadfast support”, referencing how “important the Good Friday Agreement is in respect of stability and peace on the island of Ireland”.

He said: “Over the last number of days, as I’ve been here, we’ve also witnessed – once again – that two way, very robust economic relationship between the United States and Ireland.”

Mr Martin, appearing virtually for the second year in a row due to a positive Covid-19 test, said it was unfortunate he and Mr Biden could not meet face to face.

“This year, we’re meeting virtually across the road, so we’re getting closer,” he joked.

Mr Biden is profoundly proud of his Irish ancestry and has never been shy about his passion for the country, its history and its literature.

References to Irish poets pepper many of his speeches, with Mr Biden choosing to name check the late Eavan Boland during a speech at the Ireland Funds Gala dinner in Washington on Wednesday evening.


It was at the same event that the Taoiseach was notified of the positive Covid-19 result just as he was due to speak.

Mr Martin appeared in good spirits during his appearance on-screen.

An Irish Government spokesperson said earlier on Thursday that the Taoiseach was “feeling well”.

He said Mr Martin received a negative Covid test result on Wednesday afternoon, but a further test was carried out when one of his delegation tested positive.

This resulted in a positive test for the Taoiseach.