President Joe Biden will be heading to Ireland, North and South, next month despite a raised terror threat in the North.
White House Press Secretary Olivia Dalton told reporters on Air Force One: “No, it does not have any potential implications for future travel."
And, according to an Irish Times report, she added: “I think as some of you may be aware, according to the UK authorities, this announcement returned Northern Ireland to the threat levels they have been at for the last 12 years, reversing a downgrade that occurred just last year.”
When asked by White House reporters whether the heightened terror threat would keep him from visiting Northern Ireland, the president himself replied: “No, they can’t keep me out."
The British domestic intelligence service MI5 has increased the terror threat level in the North from “substantial” to “severe," meaning an attack is considered highly likely.
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris cited a “small number” of individuals who remain determined to use “politically motivated violence."
Heaton-Harris urged the public to “remain vigilant” but “not be alarmed."
“In recent months, we have seen an increase in levels of activity relating to Northern Ireland-related terrorism, which has targeted police officers serving their communities and also put at risk the lives of children and other members of the public," Heaton-Harris said.
“These attacks have no support, as demonstrated by the reaction to the abhorrent attempted murder of DCI Caldwell.”
The increased threat level is understood to be aimed in particular at the Real IRA dissident republican group. MI5 updates its threat level assessment every six months.