Saturday 1 October 2016

US Vice-President Biden plans a visit to Ireland to explore his family roots

Martin Grant

Published 11/05/2016 | 02:30

US Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife Jill are planning an Irish visit (AP Photo)
US Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife Jill are planning an Irish visit (AP Photo)

US Vice-President Joe Biden is expected to travel to Ireland later this year.

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Mr Biden has previously visited Ireland during stopovers, but has always said he hopes to spend more time here and explore his Irish roots.

While no date has been released for the visit, new reports suggest Mr Biden will take a family trip to Ireland at the end of June.

It is expected the vice-president will spend four days travelling around various counties with his family before heading to Co Mayo.

It is believed Mr Biden will also trace his family roots in Ireland and will meet with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The Government press office would not confirm Mr Biden's visit last night when contact by the Irish Independent.

A spokesman said an "open invitation" from the Taoiseach to Mr Biden remained in place.

He said the invitation was also repeated when Mr Kenny met Mr Biden in Washington on St Patrick's Day.

"The Taoiseach looks forward to welcoming the vice-president to Ireland at a time that suits him to visit," the spokesman added.

However, the Irish Independent understands that a senior government figure will travel to the US in the coming weeks.

It is expected further developments regarding a visit by the vice -resident to Ireland will be discussed at that stage.

Mr Biden previously touched down in Shannon Airport for a stopover en route to Washington last year.

He attended a short Mass in the airport chapel, posed for passenger selfies and bought gifts in the airport shop for his family.

Earlier this year, Mr Biden was informed of his links to Co Louth by members of the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland when they performed in Washington.

His great-grandfather was James Finnegan from the Cooley Peninsula and was born around 1845. It is believed he died in 1895 in Pennsylvania.

Last night a spokeswoman for the White House told the Irish Independent they "don't have anything to confirm at this point".

Irish Independent

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