Watch Live: Biden addresses Irish Parliament


President Biden addresses the Irish Parliament Thursday after meeting Irish President Michael Higgins in Dublin, beginning a leg of his trip to the island aimed at strengthening US-Ireland ties while also giving him the opportunity give to explore his Irish ancestry.

Mr Biden’s visit to the Republic of Ireland comes after he traveled to Northern Ireland, part of the UK, to celebrate 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement was signed, a breakthrough that ended decades of violence.

On Thursday, Mr Biden signed the guest book at the Irish President’s residence and took time to write a note. The US President contacted Higgins after completing the letter and quoted his grandfather. “Your feet will take you to where your heart is,” Biden said, adding it was “an honor to return and come home to the home of my ancestors.”

The Good Friday Agreement encouraged both sides of the conflict to lay down their arms and set up a local government for Northern Ireland that shared power between Republicans and Unionists. But his visit comes as tensions are high, with post-Brexit trade woes causing political rifts that prompted British union leaders to back out of a joint-power government last year. Despite the signing of a new trade deal between the UK and the EU last month, Northern Ireland trade unionists are refusing to return to government.

The President’s trip to Ireland also comes amid international disputes Apparent leak of secret Pentagon documents on-line. Answering his first questions on the matter on Thursday, the president said he was “concerned it happened.”

“I’m not worried about the leak because — I’m worried that it happened, but there’s nothing concurrent that I know of that’s very significant,” Biden said.

Photos of pages of paper documents have surfaced on social media, and some of the materials include details from daily updates provided to senior Pentagon officials about operations in Ukraine, as well as other intelligence updates, according to a Pentagon official. The Biden administration does not publicly confirm the accuracy of the documents.

The US President has long propagated his Irish heritage, and the White House has made it a point to throw lavish celebrations on St. Patrick’s Day. Mr Biden received Irish Prime Minister Leo Eric Varadkar for St Patrick’s Day at the White House last month, complete with an appearance by One Direction’s Niall Horan.

Mr. Biden is the eighth sitting US President to visit Ireland. John F. Kennedy, the first Irish Catholic President, was the first sitting US President to visit. Mr. Biden’s sister Valerie and adult son Hunter are traveling with the President.

On Friday, the President will travel to County Mayo, where his Great-great-great-grandfather was born in the 1840s. According to the White House, he should visit a shrine and a genealogy center before giving a speech in a cathedral.

Haley Ott contributed to this report.

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