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Biden: 'If you're wearing orange, you're not welcome in here'

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US Vice President Joe Biden raised some eyebrows this St Patrick's Day when he told the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and wife Fionnuala that "if you're wearing orange, you're not welcome in here."

Greeting the pair for breakfast at his home, Mr Biden made the joke as he embraced Mr Kenny this morning.

Expected to discuss with the Taoiseach issues surrounding Northern Ireland and his plans to make an official visit to the Republic, the gaffe prone Mr Biden my have landed himself in hot water with the comment.

“Jesus, Joe Biden... How are you still let speak out loud in public with other people around,” said one Irish Twitter user.

“Clearly not referring to prisoners thru Shannon [sic],” said another, referencing the US military flights passing through Shannon Airport in Clare.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has now called on US Vice President Joe Biden to apologise over his "Orange" gaffe.

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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) listens to remarks by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) listens to remarks by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Barack Obama meets with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, on St. Patrick's Day, Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama meets with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, on St. Patrick's Day, Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) welcomes Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) to the Oval Office for a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) welcomes Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) to the Oval Office for a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) welcomes Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) to the Oval Office for a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) welcomes Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) to the Oval Office for a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a book of poetry by William Butler Yeats given to him by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) during their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patricks Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a book of poetry by William Butler Yeats given to him by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) during their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patricks Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) checks his watch as he and Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny prepare to depart for a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) checks his watch as he and Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny prepare to depart for a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny wears a shamrocks on his lapel as he meets U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit to the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny wears a shamrocks on his lapel as he meets U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit to the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) listens to remarks by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) after their meeting in the Oval Office on a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) listens to remarks by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) after their meeting in the Oval Office on a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny speak to reporters after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny speak to reporters after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Barack Obama meets with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama meets with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny smiles during a meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny smiles during a meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny button their jackets as they depart for a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny button their jackets as they depart for a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks with Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks with Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to reporters after meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to reporters after meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama listens during remarks by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny after their meeting in the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama listens during remarks by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny after their meeting in the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks with Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks with Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office during a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) delivers remarks after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) delivers remarks after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama listens during remarks by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama listens during remarks by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) listens to remarks by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

This evening, the DUP’s South Antrim MP William McCea called on the US Vice-President Joe Biden to apologise after his comments.

Commenting Dr McCrea said: “I appreciate the Vice-President later said his ‘orange’ remark was a joke.  I don’t see it as humorous in the manner it was said."

Dr McCrea added: "When Northern Ireland is making such an effort to make St Patrick’s Day an inclusive celebration, Joe Biden’s comments were disgraceful and careless."

He added: "Whether they were intended as a joke or not, the comments are a slur on those who would be known as ‘orange’ i.e. Protestants.  This term is much wider than anyone who is a member of the Orange Order.  It has traditionally been used to define people from the Protestant faith."

Dr Mcrea said Mr Biden should apologise for his remarks and take corrective action to prove in a practical way that people who are from a Protestant background are welcome in the White House.

"Undoubtedly if he had made such a remark about any other faith group there would be calls for his resignation," Dr McCrea added.

The breakfast meeting at the vice-president’s residence comes ahead of a bilateral meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, after which Mr Kenny and his wife are expected to spend time with the President and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The Taoiseach's visit to the White House is the culmination of his five days touring the United States.

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Later, he said "genius" is required to ensure the Stormont House Agreement is maintained.

Mr Biden called on Northern Ireland to build "unity and trust" in order to ensure the agreement is "locked down".

There is significant concern among both US and Irish political circles about the current impasse in the North.

Sinn Fein caused shock last week when it withdrew support for welfare measures.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due to discuss the crisis in the North with US President Barack Obama in the White House today.

“I still thing the Stormont House Agreement will hold. That’s my hope,” Mr Biden said.

“We need genius on all sides to lock this agreement down.”

 Mr Biden said “unity and trust” needed to be built to make the agreement work.

 “And finally, finally, finally bring an end to this dark chapter. We are anxious for that to happen.”


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