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US vice-president Joe Biden arrives in Ireland for six-day official visit

Published 21/06/2016

US vice-president Joe Biden
US vice-president Joe Biden

US vice-president Joe Biden has arrived in Ireland for a six-day official visit that will take in stop-offs at his ancestral homes.

After touching down in Air Force Two at Dublin Airport at around 7.20pm, Mr Biden travelled in a cavalcade of black cars flanked by Garda outriders to Government Buildings where he met Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

They posed for pictures on the steps before going inside to Mr Kenny's private office for a meeting.

"It is good to be home," remarked Mr Biden, who brought along his children and grandchildren to see their Irish roots and who made no secret of his wish to visit the country before his term in office ends later this year.

Mr Kenny gave the vice-president a hurley and sliothar as a gift.

A massive security operation will be mounted over the coming week, with sweeping road closures and parking restrictions in a number of areas of the city as well as towns and villages outside the capital.

After an overnight stay in Dublin, Mr Biden will visit Irish President Michael D Higgins at his official residence Aras an Uachtarain on Wednesday morning.

His official cavalcade will then travel west to Co Mayo, where he is expected to make stops in several towns tracing his own ancestral links to the county.

Mr Biden will stay overnight in Mayo so he can fulfil another long-standing commitment - to play a round of golf with Mr Kenny on Thursday morning.

He will deliver a keynote speech touching on the US and Ireland's shared heritage, as well as "the values of tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness", on Friday during an event at Dublin Castle, open to the public.

Mr Biden is expected to speak at two engagements at Trinity College Dublin on the same day.

A trip to Co Louth on Saturday will also take in sites with ancestral links.

Mr Biden's great-great-great grandfather Edward Blewitt and great-great grandfather Owen Finnegan both emigrated during Ireland's famine.

Before he returns to Washington on Sunday, Mr Kenny will host a lunch for the US vice-president at the State-owned Farmleigh House in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

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