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Taoiseach spends White House visit in lockdown as Covid chaos hits

Taoiseach Michael Martin is being locked up for 10 days in Washington DC because the camp in Ireland was left behind after he became the second member of the delegation to test positive for Covid-19.

His leader Fianna Fáil was stuck in the president’s guesthouse and missed an important date and all the festivities specially scheduled for him in Washington after testing positive for a PCR test in a big gala dinner on Wednesday night.

He will now miss this Sunday’s National Day Remembrance ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance, as well as next week’s EU Council meeting, which US President Joe Biden will also attend.

A member of the delegation traveling to Ireland tested positive and after re-testing Mr. Martin tested positive.

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The Irish delegation has since been tested twice and no further cases have been found.

Mr. Martin missed the unique opportunity to visit the White House as Taoiseach during this Government term, instead participating in a virtual Zoom meeting, as happened in March 2021 during high times point of the pandemic.

“Last year, we met across the Atlantic; Mr. Martin said that this year, we’ll see each other almost everywhere.

“So we’re getting closer.”

“It reminds us of the importance of vaccines,” he added.

Mr. Martin met with Mr. Biden for just over an hour and the two discussed the economy, Brexit, the Good Friday Agreement, and the situation in Ukraine, which is well understood. They also discussed the undocumented Irish in the US. Mr. Biden was seated over a traditional bowl of shamrock during the meeting.

He thanked Taoiseach for Ireland’s “incredible” efforts in helping Ukraine and taking in more than 7,000 Ukrainian refugees.

“It speaks very loudly about your principles,” Biden said.

Mr Martin said Ireland supported “the broadest and broadest possible sanctions”, adding that “it is extremely important that we remain united on this aim” to find a way to end it. put an end to the “unjust and immoral war”.

He said the Russian invasion had caused “terrible harm to Ukrainian children and their mothers”.

Mr. Martin also “reiterated” Biden’s invitation to visit Ireland, to which Mr. Biden replied that he “would love to visit”.

Taoiseach later told reporters that Mr Biden was “eager” to come to Ireland “when the opportunity arises”.

He added that “of course” he wanted him to visit while he was still the Taoiseach, before Leo Varadkar took over as part of a “rotating taoiseach” deal in December of this year.

Speaking to journalists almost after the bilateral meeting, Mr Martin said his meeting with Mr Biden was “not impaired in any way” by being held virtual and it was “very warm”.

“There was a very good personal conversation and engagement,” he said.

Taoiseach will have to host next week’s Cabinet meeting from the US for the second consecutive week. He told journalists:
“I feel good. Of course I’m personally disappointed but it’s not the end of the world and we have to keep things in perspective.”

Mr. Martin said that “for a while” he “will be here”.

“We have a cabinet meeting that I chair from the embassy at the beginning of the week – and I don’t think I will have another cabinet meeting from here next week, but that’s the way it is.

“I will continue to work and we will manage this and I will be in daily contact with my colleagues and officials.

“We will do it day by day, step by step.”

When a member of the Irish delegation tested positive as part of routine pre-screening tests for the White House on Wednesday, the delegation was retested and Mr Martin later returned the test results. positive PCR test.

He was seated next to Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Irish Foundation gala of $1,000 per plate and escorted away during kick-off.

Ireland’s ambassador to the US, Dan Mulhall, announced the news as he took the podium on behalf of Taoiseach to accept the award.

It is not clear where Mr. Martin will be isolated for the next 9 days as he is currently staying at Blair House, the guest house of the US President.

He is on a trip to the US with his wife Mary and son Michael Aodh. The Irish independence understand that a wife and son are not inseparable.

Separately, Mr. Biden told the Luncheon Speaker on Capitol Hill that Ireland “got a hit” for supporting the war in Ukraine.

Mr. Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “murderous dictator” and a “pure thug”.

“Everybody talks about Germany stepping up and changing its stance on leaning more forward, and they did,” Mr. Biden said.

“Ireland, a neutral country too.

“Ireland has stepped up and resonated with what they’re doing.”

At the bilateral meeting with Taoiseach and speaking at the lunch event, the US President expressed his appreciation for Ireland’s efforts to help with the crisis in Ukraine by taking in more than 7,000 refugees. .

He said Ireland was paying “a great price” for the sanctions imposed on Russia.

“Now you have Ireland, the UK and the Republic standing together against a murderous dictator, a pure thug waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine,” he said.

“And by the way, the Republic is paying a big price for this, a big number for advocating strategy, supporting sanctions.

“It’s not a small contribution they’re making to this effort, it’s very important.”

Meanwhile, Chairman Michael D Higgins yesterday sent “well wishes” to Mr. Martin after testing positive for Covid, wishing him a speedy recovery.

“I am very sorry to hear this news while Taoiseach is busy representing Ireland in the United States ahead of our Independence Day,” said Mr. Higgins.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/taoiseach-spends-white-house-visit-in-lockdown-as-covid-chaos-hits-41459969.html Taoiseach spends White House visit in lockdown as Covid chaos hits

Fry Electronics Team

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