Taoiseach Micheál Martin. RollingNews.ie photo
By Irish Echo Staff
Taoiseach Micheál Martin is not quite at the point of packing his overnight bag but has said that if he is invited to the White House for St. Patrick’s Day he will make the transatlantic journey.
“If I am invited, I will go,” Martin told RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland show.
But an invitation had not yet been received from President Joe Biden’s office, Martin added.
Mr. Martin, according to an Irish Times report on the interview, said he expected that if he is to go he will have to be vaccinated. He said he was bemused by the debate about whether he would go, but he was relaxed about the issue.
If an event takes place in or around March 17, Mr. Martin would need to vaccinated soon to ensure he was protected against Covid-19, the Times report stated.
Martin said St Patrick’s Day would be marked in Washington DC in “some shape or form” as it was an opportunity to develop new areas of cooperation with the U.S., such as helping developing countries.
The taoiseach said he was pleased with Mr Biden’s initiatives to date and was confident that Ireland would continue to have a good relationship with the U.S.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, has stated that he believes Mr. Martin should to go to Washington for the traditional St Patrick’s Day meeting in the White House.
If Martin travels the U.S. visit is certain to be a pared-down affair. Traditionally, a visiting taoiseach attends the Ireland Funds dinner, has breakfast with the vice president, attends the Speaker's Lunch on Capitol Hill, meets with the president in the White House and then attends a community reception in the White House East Room hosted by the president and first lady.
One-on-one meetings with the president, vice president, and perhaps a meeting with the congressional Friends of Ireland, would likely be the maximum number of encounters this time around.
Last year the then taoiseach Leo Varadkar did travel to Washington but there was no White House reception as it was cancelled at the last minute due to the just emerging Covid-19 lockdown.