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Joe Biden to Enda Kenny: 'If you're wearing orange, you're not welcome in here'

Gaffe-prone US Vice President makes 'orange' remark while greeting Irish PM

US Vice President Joe Biden raised some eyebrows this St Patrick's Day when he told the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and wife Fionnuala that "if you're wearing orange, you're not welcome in here."

Greeting the pair for breakfast at his home, Mr Biden made the remark as he embraced Mr Kenny this morning.

Expected to discuss with the Taoiseach issues surrounding Northern Ireland and his plans to make an official visit to the Republic, the gaffe prone Mr Biden my have landed himself in hot water with the comment.

“Jesus, Joe Biden... How are you still let speak out loud in public with other people around,” said one Irish Twitter user.

“Clearly not referring to prisoners thru Shannon,” said another, referencing the US military flights passing through Shannon Airport in Clare.

The breakfast meeting at the vice-president’s residence comes ahead of a bilateral meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, after which Mr Kenny and his wife are expected to spend time with the President and First Lady Michelle Obama.

DUP MP for South Antrim William McCrea called on Mr Biden to apologise.

Mr McCrea said: "I appreciate the Vice-President later said his ‘orange’ remark was a joke.  I don’t see it as humorous in the manner it was said. 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’ i.e. Protestants.  This term is much wider than anyone who is a member of the Orange Order.  It has traditionally been used to define people from the Protestant faith.

"VP Biden should apologise for his remarks and take corrective action to prove in a practical way that people who are from a Protestant background are welcome in the White House. Undoubtedly if he had made such a remark about any other faith group there would be calls for his resignation."

The Taoiseach's visit to the White House is the culmination of his five days touring the United States.

Mr Biden called on Northern Ireland to build "unity and trust" in order to ensure the agreement is "locked down".

There is significant concern among both US and Irish political circles about the current impasse.

Sinn Fein caused shock last week when it withdrew support for welfare measures.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due to discuss the crisis with US President Barack Obama in the White House today.

“I still think the Stormont House Agreement will hold. That’s my hope,” Mr Biden said.

“We need genius on all sides to lock this agreement down.”

 Mr Biden said “unity and trust” needed to be built to make the agreement work.

 “And finally, finally, finally bring an end to this dark chapter. We are anxious for that to happen.”

Further reading

Why St Patrick is a figure we can all unite behind 

Enda Kenny condemns Tony Abbott's 'green' video

St Patrick's Day parades held

St Patrick's Day parade pictures and videos from Belfast, Dublin and Downpatrick to New York and London 

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