Northern Ireland

President-elect Joe Biden 'holds Ireland dear to his heart'

Joe Biden last night overtook Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, putting the presidency within reach. Picture by AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Joe Biden last night overtook Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, putting the presidency within reach. Picture by AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Joe Biden last night overtook Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, putting the presidency within reach. Picture by AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

JOE Biden "holds Ireland dear to his heart", according to a leading figure in Irish America.

Speaking as Mr Biden won the presidential race, Dr Francis Costello said it would be a "very important outcome for not just the island of Ireland, but for Britain too".

Mr Biden is a proud Irish American whose great grandfather James Finnegan emigrated from Ireland as a child in 1850. He has been vocal in the past about his fondness for Ireland, which Dr Costello believes he will pursue in the years to come.

"Biden has previously spoke about the Good Friday Agreement and that we must respect the Good Friday Agreement in all its terms," he said.

"He is a promoter of the peace process and has always had a good interest in Ireland.

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"He was in the Senate at the time of the Good Friday Agreement, which was something the Clinton administration was focussed on and he would been close to George Mitchell."

Dr Costello said while Mr Biden's his first priority will be helping to heal America, he believes "there's a special relationship there with the UK and Ireland too that he will explore."

Dr Costello, who himself worked in the peace process as a member of the Clinton administration and as chief of staff to Rep Joseph P Kennedy II, said he believes the link will be particularly important in the post-Brexit era.

"Biden is a practical man, a healer and a man who wants to see people move forward together," he said.

"It is a big result for him, but he has the experience, as big as anyone going into this position has ever had, to see him through.

"It's a very important outcome for not just the island of Ireland, but for Britain too. For Trump it was a side-show, but Biden he will know that there has to be a good trade deal.

"He recognises that relationships have to be built on trust and mutual respect.

"Biden takes a measured approach, he is constructive - he doesn't shoot from the hip.

"He holds Ireland dear to his heart and he will recognise the importance of the UK/ US relationship, but he knows the importance of a relationship with Ireland too."