Taoiseach to discuss vaccines with Biden in St Patrick’s Day meeting

ireland
Taoiseach To Discuss Vaccines With Biden In St Patrick’s Day Meeting
US president Joe Biden during a visit to Ireland during his time as vice president, © PA Archive/PA Images
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James Ward, PA

Micheál Martin is to discuss vaccines with US president Joe Biden in their St Patrick’s Day meeting.

The Taoiseach has confirmed the issue will be discussed at the annual meeting, which is to be held virtually this year because of the pandemic.

It comes after Mr Biden said on Tuesday that the US is in discussion with “several countries” over any surplus vaccines that may become available.

 

It emerged last week that the US is sitting on upwards of 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which cannot be used there as they are still awaiting the results of clinical trials.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Martin said: “The most important issue in relation to vaccines is supply chains, and indeed in my discussions with the companies in the last two days, which involved in some of the vaccine companies, that is a critical issue.

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“I will obviously be in discussions with the president about the broader issue of, not just Covid, but the whole idea of vaccine production, distribution, the raw materials necessary to produce a vaccine.

“If you think about it Pfizer is the classic embodiment of the EU/US collaboration.

“So it’s all about collaboration in the modern world. No country is an island, there is an interdependence between us all.”

Mr Biden has promised to make sure every American has access to a vaccine before giving any to other nations.

The Taoiseach has said Covid-19 and Brexit will be on the agenda in Wednesday’s meeting.

He said: “I think the fundamental aspect of tomorrow’s meeting is to strengthen and deepen even further the bilateral relationship between Ireland and the United States.

“I think that’s critical and there’s an economic dimension to that, a cultural dimension to that.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is to hold a virtual St Patrick’s Day meeting with US president Joe Biden on Wednesday (Julien Behal/PA)

“Given the president’s warm affection for Ireland, I think we can look forward to the EU-US relationship and the role Ireland can play in nurturing that. I think the bilateral aspect is key.

“Covid will be, obviously, a theme of tomorrow’s discussions. We will update the president on the outworkings of Brexit and thank him for the work he has been doing and his consistent support for Ireland in relation to peace on the island of Ireland.”

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Asked whether he will raise the issue of the undocumented in Ireland, Mr Martin said: “In terms of the undocumented, we will because it’s been a long-standing issue, particularly the pursuit of the E-3 visa.

“We will ask the president for an update, and we’ll also speak to the vice president and of course Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and Friends of Ireland caucus.”

Mr Martin added that the US president is “very anxious” to visit Ireland.

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