The new US President-elect Joe Biden could make a visit to Ireland’s border area as part of an intervention on Brexit, according to reports.
Joe Biden has a close personal relationship with his cousins in Ireland, paying visits to the country to trace his ancestry. Some Irish cousins even flew to the US to help with his campaign.
Although Donald Trump has not yet conceded in the closely fought race, the Irish political establishment has quietly cheered on Mr Biden’s apparent White House success in the hope this might give them a diplomatic edge in negotiations.
Brexit could see a hard, militarised border directly reimposed through Ireland, or create the conditions where one becomes inevitable. A campaign is underway to urge the new US administration to follow up on a warning issued by Mr Biden that there should be no US-UK trade deal, if Britain goes back on the treaty it signed with the EU last year.
According to Sky News, the Dublin government hopes that as President, Mr Biden might now be persuaded to visit the border through Ireland. Irish officials reportedly said such a visit is a realistic possibility, given his concern for the issue and the strength of the US Irish community.
At the height of the row over the Internal Market Bill in September, by which the London government officially reneged on the deal with the EU, Mr Biden tweeted: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.
“Any trade deal between the US and the UK must be contingent upon respect for the agreement and preventing the returning of a hard border.”
Tory MP Scott Benton warned on Friday night that the US President-elect is “no friend of Britain”.
“His Irish republican sympathies and ignorant comments on Brexit and the peace process are another reminder of why he’d be an awful President and undermine our special relationship with the US,” he tweeted.
Ahead of a final clarification of the outcome, Ireland’s political leaders have so far remained silent on the election results , although Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hopefully tweeted that “the world can be a dark place at times just now - but today we are seeing a wee break in the clouds”.