BARONESS Margaret Ritchie plans to invite US President-elect Joe Biden to her home town of Downpatrick, the final resting place of Ireland's patron saint.
The former SDLP leader, who met the then vice-president during a visit to the White House in 2009, wants Mr Biden to see first hand the lasting influence of St Patrick on her former Westminster constituency of South Down.
Mr Biden, who visited the Republic in 2016, has made much of his family's Irish roots.
Two of his great great grandfathers were originally from Ireland – Patrick Blewitt from Ballina in Co Mayo and Owen Finnegan from the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth.
The Blewitts and the Finngeans eventually ended up settling in Scranton, Pennsylvania, having left Ireland in the late 1840s.
Baroness Ritchie welcomed Mr Biden's election earlier this month, describing it as "good news" in a year "most of us would rather forget".
She said the president-elect was a "true son of Ireland".
"I am sure that in these dark times, President Biden will place a steady hand on Northern Ireland’s shoulder, just as Bill Clinton did when he came to Northern Ireland in 1995," Baroness Ritchie said.
"In one way, he’s almost a local here – although born in Pennsylvania, one branch of his family has its roots on the Cooley Peninsula, just across Carlingford Lough from our own South Down constituency."
She welcomed the president-elect's support for the Good Friday Agreement and his commitment not to commit to a US-UK trade deal if Brexit threatens peace in Ireland.
The former South Down MP said Mr Biden "walks the way of Patrick in his beliefs and his faith" and that she would like him to visit Downpatrick and nearby Saul where Ireland's patron saint "taught, preached, died and is buried".
"I hope he will feel able to accept," she said.
"A man with Ireland in his soul should meet the saint whose soul is still here in Ireland."