Joe Biden says political violence ‘must never be allowed to take hold again’ in address to Irish parliament – as it happened (2023)

Key events

  • 3d agoSummary
  • 3d agoBiden: 'greatest peace dividend is no checkpoint on dreams of Irish young people'
  • 3d agoBiden: 'political violence must never be allowed to take hold again'
  • 3d agoUS and Ireland standing together against 'brutal aggression' of Russia
  • 3d ago'I'm at home' Biden tells Irish parliament
  • 3d agoBiden arrives inside Irish parliament
  • 3d agoRayner says Labour can 'move foward' on trans rights while also protecting women's rights
  • 3d agoTory councillor suspended over alleged racist comments
  • 3d agoScottish parliament tightens rules on public access to FMQs after disruption by climate activists
  • 3d agoUS relationship with Ireland getting 'stronger and stronger', Biden says
  • 3d agoWarsi says she fears attacks against her family after Braverman’s ‘racist rhetoric’
  • 3d agoSunak has admitted being too weak to stand up to Tory members on housebuilding targets, says Labour
  • 3d agoSummary of main points from Sunak's ConservativeHome interview
  • 3d agoHow Sunak responded to question about possibility of Johnson returning to cabinet
  • 3d agoUK is 'foreign policy superpower', Sunak claims
  • 3d agoSunak refuses to accept government needs higher immigration to achieve growth
  • 3d agoSunak rejects claims new voter ID law will cause problems at local elections
  • 3d agoSunak ducks question about whether he would let Boris Johnson return to cabinet
  • 3d agoSunak says 'for too long' people have felt politicians have not been delivering 'on the things that matter'
  • 3d agoRishi Sunak's live online interview with ConservativeHome
  • 3d agoPhilp says changing rules on how police record crimes should free up 443,000 officer hours per year
  • 3d agoHospital waiting list for England reaches record 7.22m, but 18-month waits down 35%, figures show
  • 3d agoJoe Biden confuses All Blacks with Black and Tans during Ireland trip
  • 3d agoUK economy flatlined in February amid impact of strikes
  • 3d agoUK accused of ‘backward step’ for axing top climate diplomat role
  • 3d agoHome Office to announce changes by end of May to make it easier to sack rogue police officers, Philp says
  • 3d agoPolicing minister Chris Philp says he's 'deeply concerned' about extent of mobile phone theft
  • 3d agoRayner defends 'hard-hitting' anti-Sunak attack ad - but claims she did not retweet it herself because she was on holiday

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3d ago18.08BST

Biden continues on the links between Ireland and America, and benefits of immigration: “Look, the journeys of our ancestors expanded our horizons and excited our imaginations.

“They became the untiring backbone of America’s progress as a nation, even as they endured discrimination and were denied opportunity.”

He said that four years before the declaration of independence, the founding father Benjamin Franklin came to the Irish parliament and described it as being “disposed to being friends of America.” He references the similar declaration made in Ireland in 1916, which is on display in the foyer of the parliament.

“We are nations that know what it means to persevere for freedom, to brave a civil war, to toil in the vineyards of democracy. Again that’s not hyperbole, it’s a fact,” he said.

“It’s not just the hope, but the conviction that better days lie ahead that have brought us along. We have the power to build a better future.”

3d ago18.03BST

Biden talks about both his and Barack Obama’s ancestors being shoemakers who travelled to the US for a better life, and their progeny going on to become presidents.

“These stories are at the very heart of what binds Ireland and America together. They speak to a history, defined by our dreams, they speak to a present written by our shared responsibility and speak to our future poised for unlimited shared possibilities,” Biden said.

(Video) 'Peace is precious': political violence must never take hold in N Ireland again, says Biden

3d ago18.00BST

'I'm at home' Biden tells Irish parliament

After the introduction by the speaker, Biden takes a few steps forward to begin his speech.

He makes a quip about his mum saying the address would happen one day.

“It’s so good to be back in Ireland,” he begins, and adds “I’m at home” in Irish. “I only wish I could stay longer.”

He then makes some lighthearted comparisons between rugby and American football, and talks about visiting Ireland previously to go to the area his family came from in the country.

3d ago17.49BST

Joe Biden is introduced by the speaker of the Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliament, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, who says it’s a “very historic for us all”.

He said it is the fourth time a US president has addressed the parliament, John F Kennedy addressed a “different world, and different parliament” nearly 60 years ago.

Ó Fearghaíl points out that former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, an architect of the Good Friday agreement, is in attendance, along with former Irish president Mary Macaleese and former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

The speaker of the Northern Irish assembly is in attendance, he adds, and says that he’s sure Biden would have liked to have addressed the assembly.

3d ago17.44BST

Biden arrives inside Irish parliament

Joe Biden has just entered the Irish parliament to a standing ovation, nearly two hours after he was scheduled to begin speaking.

Whooping and cheering can be heard as he takes his place on the platform.

(Video) LIVE: Biden addresses Irish parliament | NBC News

3d ago17.41BST

Sinn Féin has tweeted a picture of the party’s president, Mary Lou MacDonald, meeting Biden at Leinster House, as they seem to share a joke.

Joe Biden is still yet to appear to speak to the Irish parliament.

“Great to meet US President Biden again as he arrived at Leinster House.

“The US has played a hugely positive role in our peace process and in the achievement of the historic Good Friday Agreement 25 years ago.”

- @MaryLouMcDonald #BidenVisit 🇮🇪 🇺🇸

— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) April 13, 2023

3d ago17.18BST

Joe Biden says political violence ‘must never be allowed to take hold again’ in address to Irish parliament – as it happened (1)

Andrew Sparrow

Joe Biden is about to deliver his speech to the Irish parliament. It is about an hour and a half late.

My collegue Harry Taylor is taking over to cover it.

(Video) Biden addresses the Irish parliament in Dublin | full video

Joe Biden says political violence ‘must never be allowed to take hold again’ in address to Irish parliament – as it happened (2)

3d ago17.06BST

Rayner says Labour can 'move foward' on trans rights while also protecting women's rights

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, has said that reforming the Gender Recognition Act can be done without undermining women’s rights.

Speaking on a visit to Derby today, she said:

I understand people’s concerns on both sides of the argument but I think we were the party of equality. We brought in the equality legislation. We are the best party for LGBT rights – we’ve got a history of doing that.

We can protect women-only spaces and we can be absolutely fair to transgender people, who are the most vulnerable people in society, in supporting them for their rights and fairness, and I think we can take the public with us on this.

We need safe spaces for women and we need to protect those safe places, but we also need to make sure that we move forward on transgender rights because they are some of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in society.

It’s absolutely right that we look at gender reforms so that we can treat them fairly, but that is not at odds with women’s rights overall and protecting women-only spaces.

We can do both, and the Equalities Act that we brought in had exemptions in it for exactly making sure we can do that.

In its 2019 manifesto, Labour said it was committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act to allow self-declaration for transgender people. But when the Scottish government passed legislation to achieve this, key elements of the bill did not have public support, and the Westminster government subsequently blocked it. Some commentators believe the controversy contributed to Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to resign.

Keir Starmer recently said “the lesson from Scotland is that if you can’t take the public with you on a journey of reform, then you’re probably not on the right journey”, suggesting that he is increasingly cautious about reforming the Gender Recognition Act.

Joe Biden says political violence ‘must never be allowed to take hold again’ in address to Irish parliament – as it happened (3)

3d ago16.41BST

Tory councillor suspended over alleged racist comments

A Conservative councillor has been suspended after an alleged recording of him saying all white men should have a black slave was published, PA Media reports. PA says:

(Video) Watch Biden's full address to Ireland's Parliament

Andrew Edwards, who represents an area of Haverfordwest on Pembrokeshire county council, Wales, referred himself to the public services ombudsman after the 16-second clip surfaced.

The Welsh Conservatives confirmed that Edwards had since been suspended by the party while an investigation is carried out.

Edwards’ voice is said to have been identified by other members of the council after they were sent the audio.

In the recording, published earlier this week by online news site Nation.Cymru, a man’s voice can be heard saying: “Nothing wrong with the skin colour at all. I think all white men should have a black man as a slave or a black woman as a slave, you know. It’s nothing wrong with skin colour, it is just they’re a lower class than us white people, you know.”

It is not clear when the recording was made or who it was made for. However, children and other adults can be heard talking and playing in the background of the audio.

In his statement on Wednesday, Edwards said: “I am aware of such serious allegations being made against me. This is why I have self-referred to the public services ombudsman for an independent evaluation. It is now in the hands of legal experts and the ombudsman. It would be unfair on the process for me to comment now.”

A spokesperson for the Welsh Tories said: “Andrew Edwards has been suspended by the party whilst an investigation is carried out.”

3d ago16.13BST

Joe Biden says political violence ‘must never be allowed to take hold again’ in address to Irish parliament – as it happened (4)

Lisa O'Carroll

Speaking after his meeting with Joe Biden, the taoiseach (Irish PM), Leo Varadkar, said that the UK-US special relationship was alive and well and that talk of Biden being anti-British was untrue. Varadkar said:

I know that President Biden and his administration is committed to that special relationship.

That goes back to their own history and also the fact that they fought two world wars side by side …

You should never underestimate the strength of the UK-American relationship.

(Video) Former Pres. Obama trolls Pres. Biden

Varadkar said that while Biden was proud to be Irish, “his only interest really is to see not just peace sustained in Northern Ireland” but also the institutions, including Stormont, back up and running because “people and politicians come and go and it is [the] institutions that ... make sure that democracy and freedom and prosperity and all those things last for generations”.

Varadkar said he would be working with Rishi Sunak, who returns to Belfast next Wednesday, to get Stormont restored, adding that he thought it was “possible to get the DUP on board”.


1. US President Joe Biden addresses the Houses of the Oireachtas
(Sky News)
2. President Biden delivers remarks to the Irish House of Parliament — 4/13/23
(CNBC Television)
3. Biden hails US-Irish relationship in Oireachtas address
(RTÉ News)
4. An Emotional Biden Tells Irish Parliament: 'I'm Home' | Joe Biden's Address In Irish Parliament LIVE
5. "Tá mé seo abhaile" - President Biden addresses Dáil Éireann
6. Division Remains Deep in Northern Ireland as Biden Marks 25th Anniversary of Good Friday Agreement
(Democracy Now!)


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