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Micheal Martin looking forward to Joe Biden ‘coming home’

Mr Martin said the US President had a strong commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.

Ireland’s deputy premier Micheal Martin has said he is looking forward to US President Joe Biden “coming home” on a forthcoming visit to Ireland.

Mr Biden has confirmed it is his intention to visit both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland from New York, Mr Martin said the context of the timing around the anniversary is “apt”.

Asked if the Irish Government was aware that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was making the announcement that Mr Biden would visit Northern Ireland, he said there were “indications for some time” about the possibility of a visit.

“The important issue is that he is coming,” he said.

Mr Martin said the US pushed strongly for a negotiated resolution to issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He said Mr Biden had a “strong commitment to the Good Friday Agreement”.

“It seems to me this is good news all round,” he said.

Asked if it was appropriate for Mr Biden to address Stormont while it was not sitting, Mr Martin said he wanted to see the restoration of the Assembly and the Executive.

He said his opinion was that the legitimate issues that were raised in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol were comprehensively dealt with by the Windsor Framework.

Speaking to the same programme, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said he could not see how Mr Biden can address the Assembly if it is not sitting.

“If the Assembly’s not sitting, it’s not sitting. So what’s he going to address?” Mr Wilson asked.

He also said the Good Friday Agreement is in “tatters”.

If he is coming to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, he has got to realise it is in tattersDUP MP Sammy Wilson

Asked if he would welcome Mr Biden, Mr Wilson said anyone visiting Northern Ireland would be given a welcome.

“But if he is coming to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, he has got to realise it is in tatters,” he sad.

He said the agreement has been ripped up by the EU and the UK Government.

“The assurances which unionists had in relation to their status in the United Kingdom not being changed have been removed,” he said.

He said safeguards around the application of EU law on Northern Ireland have also been removed.

“If he’s coming, I don’t think he has a great deal to celebrate,” he said.

Mr Wilson said he does not think the DUP can take up its obligations to powersharing while rejecting the Windsor Framework.

He said he was not rejecting the deal outright but it did not meet the party’s seven tests.

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