Stephen Bailey: Joe Biden’s track record on Northern Ireland should greatly concern Unionists


By Stephen Bailey.

U.S. President Joe Biden is a clear and present danger to the Union. He made much public play over his Irish ancestry during the 2020 elections.

Like many things with Biden, all was not as it seems. In fact, one of his ancestors originated in Sussex, U.K. and emigrated to the U.S. around 1822, where he settled in Maryland (he may even have links to the British Empire as his family could have been involved with the East India Company).

A close examination of Biden’s five decades in politics reveals an extremely alarming storied history of statements that highlight his anti-Union sentiments and this should act as a sharp reminder and warning to Unionists to be extremely wary of his intervention in the U.K.’s internal affairs, especially Northern Ireland as well as other important matters of national sovereignty, such as Brexit.

Biden once described the U.K.’s position in Northern Ireland as ‘absolutely outrageous’. This should inform serious minded Unionists with a desire to maintain the Union of what they need to know about where his real loyalties lie.

After the Troubles started in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, Biden was quick to jump on the anti-U.K. bandwagon and display his anti-U.K., pro-Irish credentials to the Irish vote amongst the U.S. public.

As he approached the prospect of serious office in the 1980s he often made the headlines for his anti-U.K. stance. He was opposed to the deportation of I.R.A. suspects from the U.S. to the U.K. He expressed hard opposition to an extradition treaty between the U.K. and the U.S. that would allow Irish Republican terrorists to be sent to the U.K. for trial.

In 1985 he told the U.S. Senate during a debate on a possible extradition treaty:

‘If we ratify this treaty, we will be admitting that the justice system in Northern Ireland is fair – a notion I absolutely abhor’.

While he did give public lip service to condemning I.R.A. murders, he spoke about the threat to the civil liberties of the I.R.A. terrorists if they were ever returned to U.K.

During this period, he gave the impression to observers that he housed considerable sympathy for the I.R.A. whilst mouthing platitudes in public to mollify the U.K. 

Sinn Fein is the political wing of the I.R.A. and is controlled and directed by its Army Council. Biden has openly associated with this organisation. Just days after his election, U.S. President elect Barack Obama was found out for his previous involvement in highly dubious Northern Ireland issues.

A photograph emerged of him with I.R.A. fugitive Rita O’Hare, who was wanted for attempted murder, as well as Sinn Fein boss Gerry Adams. This set the tone for the White House’s future attitude towards N.I. and Biden who was the Vice President, contributed to this anti-U.K., pro-Irish Republican attitude in that administration.

Subsequently, photographs emerged of Biden shaking hands with Gerry Adams which cemented the reality that the Obama Administration was extremely sympathetic to Irish Republicanism.

After managing to grab the presidency in 2020, Biden has further burnished his anti-U.K. credentials. 

One of the first things that Biden did as president was to fire a shot across U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bows by lecturing him that a trade agreement with the U.S. was incompatible with his Brexit negotiation strategy.

He also sided with the E.U. by claiming that peace in N.I. was at risk from the U.K. Internal Market Bill, which provides powers to override the Withdrawal Agreement in order to prevent trade barriers in the Irish Sea. He tried to dictate terms to the U.K. Government on how the Brexit deal should be concluded, stating:

‘Any trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. must be contingent upon respect for the [Belfast] Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period’.

Biden is undeniably a part of the Irish American lobby. His past history, his statements, his iassociations, people he’s been photographed with, his background all conclusively show this to be the case. ‘The Irish cause is in his veins’, a former aide, Shailagh Murray, told the New York Times. One of two great-grandfathers of Irish descent was the Pennsylvanian politician Edward Francis Blewitt, whom he described as ‘an engineer with a poet’s heart’.

Blewitt is not the only Irishman in Biden’s poetic pantheon. He often cites Yeats and in his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination he quoted lines by Seamus Heaney, adding: 

‘This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme’.

Biden’s cultural and political hinterland is suffused with a romanticised and so distorted Irish nationalism. In any Anglo-Irish dispute, he will instinctively take the Irish side. 

This bodes extremely poorly for his future handling of the Northern Ireland issue. He will be partisan in an anti-U.K., anti-Unionist, pro-Irish way and can’t be trusted.

He will attempt to push matters in the direction of re-unification between N.I. and the Irish Republic, irrespective of what the majority want there and as such should be treated with extreme suspicion and caution by Unionists.

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© 2021 Stephen Bailey


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