Northern Ireland news

Biden braves wet and windy conditions on arrival at Dublin Airport

US President Joe Biden (centre) arrives at Dublin Airport during his trip to the island of Ireland. Picture date: Wednesday April 12, 2023.
Josh Payne and Cillian Sherlock, PA

US president Joe Biden was shielded by umbrellas as he touched down at Dublin Airport ahead of his three-day stay in the Republic of Ireland.

Air Force One landed at the Irish capital’s airport on Wednesday afternoon in heavy rain and cold winds.

Mr Biden, accompanied by his son Hunter Biden and sister Valerie Biden Owens, was greeted on the tarmac and shook hands with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar alongside other Irish dignitaries.

The US president had been due to travel to Co Louth by helicopter, but the poor weather conditions forced him to go via motorcade.

Mr Varadkar also greeted Secretary of State Antony Blinken as they alighted Air Force One.

Umbrellas were held for Mr Biden as he greeted each Irish dignitary in turn, including ambassadors Geraldine Byrne Nason and Claire Cronin.

Mr Biden spent only four minutes on the tarmac before being escorted to the US presidential state car.

Before leaving the airport, the president met embassy staff and their children and thanked them for their service, as well as describing the Taoiseach as “a good man”, adding: “I don’t want to hurt his reputation politically, but, in addition to us being allies, we’re also friends.”

One child asked Mr Biden what the key to success was, to which he replied: “The key to success is, whenever you disagree with someone, it’s OK to question their judgment on whether they’re right or wrong, but it is never OK to question their motive.”

“If you question their motive, you’ll never agree,” the president added.

The president also praised firefighters, saying: “There’s an expression: God made man, then he made a few firefighters, because who else is crazy enough to run into a fire?”

Mr Biden then joked: “Everybody I grew up with either became a cop, a firefighter, or a priest. I couldn’t qualify for any, so here I am.”

A child also asked him about his dog, Commander, to which he replied: “My dog is doing well.”

Writing on Twitter after the meeting, Mr Varadkar said it was a “real pleasure” to greet Mr Biden, adding: “Looking forward to a good discussion in Farmleigh tomorrow after his trip to County Louth.”

Northern Ireland news