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Biden says ‘bonds’ between US, Ireland ‘run deep’ during St. Patrick’s Day celebration

President Biden on Sunday touted what he called the “strong” friendship between the U.S. and Ireland while marking St. Patrick’s Day at the White House alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

“We celebrate the bonds of our friendship today connecting millions of Irish Americans and American people. We celebrate the friendship between the two nations — one that has shaped our past, strengthened our present and inspires our future,” Biden said Sunday in remarks during the White House’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

During his remarks, Biden reflected on his family’s ties to Ireland and recent trip to Belfast, and how both some of his and former President Obama’s ancestors sailed out of Ireland from the same port within weeks of one another.

“Stories like these are why I often say the Irish are the only people who are nostalgic about the future,” he said. “We believe in better tomorrows, we’re always looking for the next horizon. That’s a very American trade as well. Just more proof that the bonds between Ireland and the United States run deep, our joys, our sorrows, our passions, our dreams, our optimism. Even In the most difficult moments, we hold on to hope. That’s what we do.”

Varadkar spoke briefly after Biden on Sunday, applauding America’s leadership and past work in Europe.

“I’ve always believed that America is a force for good in the world. You’ve helped to advance liberty and democracy around the globe,” he told Biden, later thanking him for his support of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement, which created a new government for Northern Ireland and helped end 30 years of conflict in the region.

The two leaders also touched on other global conflicts and presented a united front in supporting Ukraine’s fight against Russia.

“Our countries stand proudly for liberty and against tyranny. We stand together and oppose Russia’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine,” Biden said. “You can clap for that, please,” prompting applause from the audience.

Speaking to Biden, Varadkar said, “One of your country’s most sacred promises, is to defend the principles of democracy and freedom against tyranny and oppression.”

“When Ukraine was invaded, you honored that promise and stood firm against an adversary who tore up the rulebook of international law and repudiated our sacred humanity. So on behalf of Ireland and the wider European community, we commend your leadership and reaffirm that Europe stands with you and with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

Varadkar warned a loss for Ukraine will lead to a greater threat from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Varadkar also reiterated his call for a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas to allow food and medicine into Gaza and see the release of the hostages. Both he and Biden discussed the issue in detail last Friday, where they both agreed on working toward a two-state solution to ensure peace in the region.

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