Northern Ireland news

Micheál Martin travels to London ahead of Washington DC trip for St Patrick's Day celebrations

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

MICHEÁL Martin travelled to London yesterday to begin a two-day trip to mark this year's St Patrick's Day celebrations.

The visit to Britain came ahead of the taoiseach's trip to the United States on Monday, where he is due to attend the Shamrock Ceremony at the White House with the US President Joe Biden on St Patrick's Day.

Mr Martin was last night scheduled to have dinner with businesspeople at London's Mansion House as a guest of Lord Mayor of the City of London Vincent Keaveny, the first Irish citizen to be appointed to the mayoral role.

The taoiseach is set to attend a business event in the Irish embassy today, before setting off for Twickenham where he will watch the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and England, alongside holding a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It is expected the leaders will discuss Irish and British relations and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

The day will conclude with dinner, where the taoiseach will be guest of honour of the St Patrick's Day Ball Committee.

Tomorrow will see the Fianna Fáil leader attend London's St Patrick's Day festival and parade, which this year celebrates ‘community' and key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, Mr Martin will travel on to Washington DC for a series of engagements, beginning on Tuesday with a cultural programme, which includes lunch for Congressman Richie Neal, a ceremony in honour of former SDLP leader John Hume, a Tourism Ireland reception, and special performance of Riverdance.

On Wednesday, he will fulfil a series of economic engagements, including a Women in Business Executive roundtable, a US Chamber of Commerce and Science Foundation Ireland event, and the Ireland Funds 30th National Gala.

St Patrick's Day will see a programme of events at the White House and Capitol Hill, including a breakfast hosted by US Vice President Kamala Harris, the Speaker's Lunch on Capitol Hill, a bilateral between the taoiseach and President Biden, as well as the traditional Shamrock Ceremony and Ambassador's St Patrick's Day Reception.

In meetings, the leaders are expected to discuss the strong cultural and economic ties between Ireland and the US, as well as the situation in Ukraine and ongoing support for the Good Friday Agreement.

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