Posted on Nov 14, 2020
US President-elect Joe Biden, like many Irish-Americans, likes to emphasise his roots in County Mayo, which often means playing to Irish Republican sympathies.
Biden, however, appears to have taken this a little further than most, not only smiling and posing for the obligatory photographs with convicted terrorists, but also expressing the low sectarian rhetoric normally to be heard on the streets of the lower-Falls and Londonderry.
Welcoming the then Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny to his home in Washington D.C. in March 2015 Biden told him "if you're wearing orange, you're not welcome in here."
When Northern Ireland is making such an effort to make St Patrick's Day an inclusive celebration, Joe Biden's comments were disgraceful and careless. Whether they were intended as a joke or not, the comments are a slur on those who would be known as 'orange'. This term has traditionally been used to define people from the Protestant faith. Undoubtedly if he had made such a remark about any other faith group there would be calls for his resignation.
Biden attempted to dismiss his comment as a "joke".
Less funny might be the photograph of Biden, taken in September 2017, alongside Sinn Fein/IRA leader Gerry Adams. Also in the picture was IRA fugitive Rita O'Hare.
O'Hare was arrested in Northern Ireland in 1972 for the attempted murder of British Army Warrant Officer Frazer Paton in Belfast in October 1971. She also faced charges of malicious wounding and possession of firearms
Having been released on bail she fled to the Irish Republic, where she was to serve a three-year prison sentence in Limerick prison for smuggling explosives for the IRA.
Eventually, after some visa issues, she made her way to the USA, where she was Sinn Fein's representative in the country for 20 years, before returning to Ireland in 2019.
Adams and O'Hare have also been photographed with a previous Democrat president, Barack Obama.
Biden has used Brexit, and a perceived threat to the Northern Ireland peace deal, as a means to curry favour with with the Irish-American voters, by threatening to overrule parts of Britain’s EU withdrawal treaty relating to Northern Ireland.
That may be considered as somewhat rich coming from the next president of the country which raised more money than any other to fund the terrorists, and which gave safe haven to so many of them.
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