Joe Biden says ‘we must keep’ an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland

Andrew Buncombe
·2-min read

Watch: Joe Biden opposes guarded border between Ireland and Northern Ireland

Joe Biden has said he does not want to see an armed border between Northern Ireland and Ireland — saying people have worked too hard to keep it open.

Speaking to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on the day he formally introduced his nominations for top diplomatic and international security posts, the president-elect said he had spoken to British prime minister Boris Johnson, and Micheál Martin, the Irish Taoiseach, urging them to maintain an open crossing.

One of the key stumbling blocks as Britain prepares to break ties with Europe at the end of the year, is what will become of the border between Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, and Ireland, which will continue to part of the European Union.

At the height of the conflict known as the Troubles, the border area was the location for many atrocities.

Since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, the border and the citizens on both sides have enjoyed both peace, and no fixed border posts.

Mr Biden says he spoke with Irish and British prime ministers (Getty)
Mr Biden says he spoke with Irish and British prime ministers (Getty)

“We do not want a guarded border. We want to make sure — we’ve worked too long to get Ireland worked out, and I talked with the British prime minister, I talked with the Taoiseach, I talked with others, I talked to the French,” said Mr Biden.

“The idea of having a border north and south once again being closed is just not right, we’ve just got to keep the border open.”

In September, Mr Biden, who can trace his Irish ancestry to County Mayo, made a similar point on Twitter.

“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Mr Biden wrote.

“Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

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