Taoiseach Micheál Martin has revealed new US President Joe Biden said “try and keep me out” when he extended an official invitation to visit Ireland.
Mr Martin was interviewed by CNN on Friday and he discussed the possibility of being the first head of government to meet the president, along with a number of other topics including the Covid crisis and the mother and baby homes report.
“I did invite president Biden to Ireland and he jokingly said to me, ‘try and keep me out’,” he said.
The annual St Patrick's Day visit to the White House by the Taoiseach is uncertain due to the pandemic but Mr Martin spoke about the special relationship between Ireland and the United States.
“Both of us are very keen to cement that very historic relationship between the United States of America and Ireland which goes back through the ages now,” Mr Martin said.
He added: “It’s an important relationship in the modern era. It has cultural and artistic manifestations, it has economic manifestations, and of course in the context of Ireland’s membership in the European Union, we do see ourselves very much as potential bridge builders between the US and the European Union.”
Mr Biden has visited Ireland many times and his family ancestry can be traced back to Co Mayo and Co Louth.
Earlier this week, sources told BreakingNews.ie that Mr Biden is likely to set foot on Irish soil as president for the first time in June.
The new president is set to travel to the G7 summit in England on June 11th and his plane will stopover at Shannon Airport to refuel.
Paul Allen of the Irish For Biden campaign told BreakingNews.ie that sources in Washington have told him Mr Biden is expected to make a stopover at Shannon Airport.
“The G7 summit is taking place in a tiny village in Cornwall on June 11th, and my insiders in the Biden camp have led me to believe that they will stop off in Shannon Airport and refuel there before heading over to England, or may pop in on the way back,” Mr Allen said.
He added: “As one insider told me last night, it's his intention to get to Ireland as soon as possible, so coming in before the G7 to refuel would allow him to do that.
“He's had many private visits to Ireland, they've come into Shannon before and got a car to drive them to Ballina or Carlingford."