Tensions still exist 25 years after the Good Friday Agreement was struck, notwithstanding Biden’s upbeat remarks. He directly urged the parties in Northern Ireland to resume the power-sharing government that was a cornerstone of the Good Friday Agreement between those who favor a united Ireland and those who wish to remain a part of the United Kingdom.
He even referred to the Capitol uprising of January 6, 2021, as proof that democratic institutions need ongoing upkeep. A significant figure in the dysfunctional power-sharing government downplayed the significance of Biden’s address almost immediately after the president finished it.
Biden’s Optimistic Speech
To offset the disappointment, Biden’s staff chose to hold his speech at Ulster University’s brand-new Belfast campus, which cost millions of pounds to build and can hold thousands of students, the majority of whom were born after the Good Friday Agreement was struck.
Since they weren’t alive to witness it firsthand, several of the kids in Biden’s audience don’t even consider the bloodshed from The Troubles to be a distant memory. Instead, the economic opportunity seems to be the main concern, especially given how complicated trade connections in the region are as a result of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
- Power-sharing government that was a cornerstone of the Good Friday Agreement.
- Biden‘s staff chose to hold his speech at Ulster University’s brand-new Belfast campus.
- Northern Ireland would stay a part of the EU common market under a new agreement.
In his speech, Biden touched on the economy in part. He has also named former US Representative Joe Kennedy III as his special envoy to Northern Ireland, who will mostly be responsible for promoting foreign investment in the region. Northern Ireland would essentially stay a part of the EU common market under a new agreement between the UK and the EU, perhaps making it more appealing to businesses.
In a separate meeting on Wednesday, Biden emphasized the significance of restarting the arrangement as part of the Good Friday Agreement’s legacy. This meeting was with the leaders of the five parties that make up the power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.
Before leaving for Dublin in the Republic of Ireland later on Wednesday afternoon, Biden has only one public appearance scheduled in Belfast. His visit to the Knock Shrine and stops in two family hometowns on the second leg of his journey promise to be more intimate and less political than his brief stop in Belfast.
Beginning later on Wednesday, Biden will visit County Louth to look for his ancestors. Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather, Owen Finnegan, was born in 1818 in a location near the border with Northern Ireland.
Biden will be able to see Newry, in the North, from the tower of Carlingford Castle when he takes a tour. This is the location from which Owen Finnegan departed in 1849 on the Marchioness of Bute for the US.