Beef, Brexit and Bombs: Biden’s Northern Ireland Trip Stirs up the Shenanigans

Ray Clarke, left, and Eddie Ruane put up flags in Ballina, a small Irish town that was home to some of President Joe Biden’s ancestorsInternationalIndiaAfricaJames TweedieJoe Biden was vice-president to Barack Obama when the former US leader said Britain would go to the “back of the queue” for trade deals with Washington if it dared to leave the European Union. But now PM Rishi Sunak is his staunchest ally in NATO an agreement is back on the cards.Joe Biden will wade into rows over Brexit and tainted US meat exports to Europe when he visits Ireland this week — while dodging bomb threats from dissident Republicans.The US president will fly into Belfast on Tuesday to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) that mostly ended 30 years of sectarian violence. He will later visit Louth, Dublin and Mayo in the Republic of Ireland.Despite his French surname and hailing from Pennsylvania, settled by German colonists, Biden claims Irish ancestry and Roman Catholic faith.But British domestic intelligence agency MI5 has already uncovered a bomb plot by Irish Republican Army splinter group the New IRA.”They were looking for parts to make a bomb,” an anonymous source told a local newspaper. “The belief is that the New IRA was planning some sort of attack to coincide with Biden’s visit, similar to the mortar attack on the cops in Strabane last November.”The US president will travel with a huge Secret Service security detail, reportedly packing an arsenal of over 300 firearms and a motorcade of up to 40 bullet-poof cars.Biden will be welcomed to the city by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak — whose name he has repeatedly mispronounced as “Rashid Sunook.”On Monday, Sunak urged Republican and Unionist parties to return to return to the ‘power-sharing’ coalition in the Leinster assembly mandated by the GFA and “get on with the business of governance” — accepting the Windsor Framework deal he struck with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in February.The GFA was “born of partnership between the British and Irish governments,” Sunak said, adding that Biden’s visit showed “it continues to enjoy huge international support from our closest allies.”The two leaders will reportedly discuss reviving plans for a transatlantic trade agreement, stalled since 2016 in a series of controversial circumstances.WorldBiden’s Upcoming Belfast Visit Overshadowed by Ulster Terror Warning8 April, 12:49 GMTThe Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was opposed by trade unions, consumer groups and environmentalists who argued it would undermine national regulations and allow the US to export hormone-enhanced beef and chlorine-washed chicken to the European Union (EU).Former US president Barack Obama, as a favor to then-PM David Cameron who backed the campaign to stay in the EU, threatened to send the UK to the “back of the queue” for future trade deals if its citizens voted to leave the bloc in 2016 — which they did anyway.Brussels went cold on the TTIP deal after Donald Trump was elected US president later that year, while Cameron’s successor Theresa May was reluctant to strike a separate deal with Trump during his June 2019 state visit to the UK, when she was already on her way out of office after being forced to resign over her ‘soft Brexit’ stance.Biden, Obama’s vice-president for two terms, spoke during his 2020 election campaign against Britain’s looming formal withdrawal from the EU, claiming it would result in a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.The final compromise between Downing Street and Brussels left the exclave as part of the EU’s single market — meaning customs checks on goods moving to and from the mainland UK and a blanket ban on British goods like sausages and potted nursery plants. That in turn sparked riots in Ulster and even a hoax bomb threat against the Irish foreign minister.


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