Irish leaders respond to US election outcome

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The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins has led Irish congratulations to Joe Biden after his success in becoming the US President.

The Democratic Party candidate was finally declared President-elect by major US news corporations on Saturday, signalling acceptance by the establishment of his victory in the race for the White House.

Mr Biden, the most-voted for presidential candidate in US history, holds strong ties with Ireland, and tributes in Ireland came quickly after he was declared the winner.

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins offered their congratulations.

Mr Higgins said: “Today, I have conveyed my best wishes to President-elect Joe Biden, wishing him and the American people every good fortune for his term in office and congratulating him, and congratulating Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on her historic achievement.

“Sabina and I, and the staff at Áras an Uachtaráin, have the warmest memories of Joe Biden’s two visits to us.

“The bonds between the peoples of Ireland and the United States are close and strong, and I look forward to our two countries working together to rebuild the much-needed trust in the methods and institutions of national and international solidarity and cooperation.

“That solidarity is indispensable, if we are to address the urgent challenges of our time, including such diverse issues as the need to address the cause and consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, global poverty, hunger, migration and the digitisation of our economies, all issues on which the President-elect has expressed a commitment.

“On behalf of the people of Ireland, I wish President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris every success in the years ahead.”

Taosieach Micheál Martin described Mr Biden as a “true friend of this nation.”

He said: “On behalf of the government and the people of Ireland, I offer warmest congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as the 46th President of the United States.

“Ireland takes pride in Joe Biden’s election, just as we are proud of all the generations of Irish women and Irish men and their ancestors whose toil and genius have enriched the diversity that powers America.”

Mr Martin noted the strong ties between Mr Biden and Ireland.

“Joe Biden has always been a stalwart friend and supporter of Ireland, including of the prosperity, stability and opportunity made possible by the Good Friday Agreement, to which he has pledged his ongoing steadfast support,” he said.

He added: “I also wish to congratulate Kamala Harris on her election as Vice-President and recognise the tremendous significance of her election to the role.

“I am greatly looking forward to working with the new Administration in the period ahead in progressing international peace and security.”

Mr Martin pledged to make progress on the issue of the undocumented Irish immigrants in the US, of which there are some 50,000.

He said: “I also intend to work closely with the new administration and the United States Congress to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that is so important to tens of thousands of Irish people making a significant contribution to America.”

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD also congratulated Mr Biden and his Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, and offered them “best wishes in meeting the challenges facing the new administration”.

“Joe Biden is proud of his Irish roots and is a long-standing friend of Ireland.

“During the Presidential election campaign, and throughout his time in office, he has acted to promote and protect peace, progress and the Good Friday Agreement. He comes into office at a time of threat from the British government, with Brexit and their refusal to honour agreements looming large.

“The President-elect and both parties in Congress have made clear there will be no trade agreement with Britain unless the Good Friday Agreement is safeguarded in all its parts.

“I look forward to working with the new President and his administration to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected and its transformative potential fully realised.”

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