| -0.5°C Belfast

President Biden will be 'powerful ally' of Good Friday Agreement, say NI politicians

Close

Joe Biden has criticised Boris Johnson in the past (Niall Carson/PA)

Joe Biden has criticised Boris Johnson in the past (Niall Carson/PA)

Joe Biden has criticised Boris Johnson in the past (Niall Carson/PA)

Northern Ireland's political leaders have welcomed Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election, after he previously expressed his commitment to protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

The former vice-president, who has extensive Irish heritage, was called as the winner of Pennsylvania on Saturday, meaning he has an insurmountable lead over incumbent Donald Trump in the race for the White House.

Offering Mr Biden their congratulations, Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood noted his previous comments that there would be no future trade deal between the US and UK while he was president if the Good Friday Agreement was not respected.

Mr Biden's comments came after suggestions the UK Government's Internal Market Bill would “jeopardise” the Good Friday Agreement, though the Government deny this.

The bill would give the Government the power to override parts of its Brexit agreement with the EU.

First Minister Arlene Foster congratulated Mr Biden and Ms Harris and said that "the United States administration whether Democrat or Republican, has always been willing to help and support us".

"A tremendously important relationship as we mark our centenary and plan for Northern Ireland’s second century," the DUP leader said.

Close

Steve Aiken

Steve Aiken

PA

Steve Aiken

UUP leader Steve Aiken said he hoped Mr Biden's election would mark a "turning point in the US democratic system".

However Mr Aiken called on the new administration to "read the agreement, focus on the implications of an Irish Sea Border as much as one North/South and also to remember, in an increasingly unstable world, that the United Kingdom has been a steadfast ally of the United States across the globe".

"Now is not the time to dismantle and fracture friendships when the standing of the US across much of the world has been so diminished," he said.

Mrs McDonald said Mr Biden was a "long-standing friend of Ireland".

She said he was taking office at a time when the UK were refusing to honour their agreements.

"I look forward to working with the new President and his administration to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected and its transformative potential fully realised."

Close

Leader of the SDLP Colum Eastwood (Liam McBurney)

Leader of the SDLP Colum Eastwood (Liam McBurney)

PA

Leader of the SDLP Colum Eastwood (Liam McBurney)

Mr Eastwood, an outspoken critic of President Trump, said he had written to Mr Biden to invite him to visit his hometown of Derry.

The Foyle MP said Mr Biden's election was particularly welcome due to his support "for the primacy of the Good Friday Agreement in the context of Brexit".

"We now have powerful allies in the White House and in Congress who will not stand for any attempt by the British Government to renege on their international obligations in the Ireland Protocol if they want a trade deal," the SDLP leader said.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said she was "delighted to see dignity and decency prevail in this election".

"Wishing you both every success as you seek to heal division and govern for all. Also delighted a woman of colour will be VP," she said.

NI Secretary Brandon Lewis also offered his congratulations saying, "Northern Ireland has benefited greatly from our special relationship with the USA".

"I look forward to continuing to build and cement these ties, for the benefit of all in NI, during the term of this new administration," he said.

Close

Irish Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney (left) and former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith unveil the New Decade, New Approach agreement which brought about the restoration of power-sharing in January 2020. (Niall Carson/PA)

Irish Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney (left) and former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith unveil the New Decade, New Approach agreement which brought about the restoration of power-sharing in January 2020. (Niall Carson/PA)

PA

Irish Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney (left) and former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith unveil the New Decade, New Approach agreement which brought about the restoration of power-sharing in January 2020. (Niall Carson/PA)

His predecessor Julian Smith said Mr Biden's electoral victory was "great news for Northern Ireland".

"Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the Democrats played (a) key role in pushing for restoration of the NI Assembly & Executive last January and consistently stand up for protection of all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement," he wrote on social media.

Taosieach Micheal Martin described Mr Biden as a "true friend of this nation."

"Joe Biden has always been a stalwart friend and supporter of Ireland, including of the prosperity, stability and opportunity made possible by the Good Friday Agreement, to which he has pledged his ongoing steadfast support," he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated the president-elect and said he looks "forward to working closely together" as allies.

"The US is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


Privacy