Sweet-toothed Joe Biden praised by his young Irish cousins in County Mayo

President Joe Biden and his three Irish cousins

Well, it wouldn’t be an American presidential election if at least one of the candidates didn’t highlight his Irish heritage.

It couldn’t be Donald Trump because he’s strictly German-Scottish, although he does own a golf course in Ireland.

To be fair, President-elect Biden has always been proud of his Irish connections and has visited the family’s ancestral home near Ballina in Co Mayo a few times. He was there in 2017 and was delighted to meet, among others, some of his fifth cousins…Emily, Dara and Lauren, seen in the picture.

It seems the youngsters were impressed with their famous American visitor who they described as a lovely man.

BBC reporter Hayley Hassall went back to Ballina to see what the children now thought of their cousin and what he’s going to be like as president. Emily’s main memory was that he had a sweet tooth and liked ice cream.

Lauren was impressed with how Mr Biden had worked hard to overcome his stammer, a huge handicap for someone who wanted to enter into politics and make public speeches. She’s now saving up her pocket money until she has enough to visit the White House. She didn’t say whether Mr Biden had given her an invitation.

Reporter Hassall asked the children if they thought he would make a good president and they were in no doubt. “Definitely he is a great role model, he has lots of experience and the country is in safe hands.”

It’s likely that Mr Biden’s most urgent and difficult task will be to unite both sides of the political divide in the United States, which has become more polarised during Donald Trump’s presidency. It may take a long time for wounds to heal, especially as Mr Trump has maintained his stance that the election was stolen from him.

Mr Biden’s election has certainly gone down well in Ireland and throughout Europe, with EU leaders hoping there will now be a better and more amicable relationship with the United States.

Indeed, Mr Biden had an important influence on Ireland and the UK as soon as the presidential election results came in. His firm stance in telling British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured below, that there could be no US-UK trade deal if Brexit did anything to damage the Good Friday Agreement did a lot to concentrate minds in London.

Boris Johnson

Many political commentators believe it played a part in persuading Mr Johnson to step back from his threat to break international law by reneging on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, which had been drafted to ensure there would be no hard border in Norther Ireland and that nothing would be done to undermine peace there.

That’s no mean achievement considering it was before he even took up the job officially. To his young Irish cousins though, he’s the nice man who likes ice cream.



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