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Saturday 24 August 2019

Pence to 'celebrate my roots' after he confirms Irish visit

US Vice President Mike Pence
US Vice President Mike Pence

US Vice President Mike Pence has confirmed plans to visit Ireland early next month.

Mr Pence took to Twitter yesterday afternoon to confirm he will travel to Ireland on Friday, September 6, and Saturday, September 7, after a visit to Iceland and London.

The former Indiana governor, who has strong Irish connections, said he would be meeting President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tanaiste Simon Coveney as well as "celebrating my Irish roots".

Heart

"On September 6-7 we will travel to Ireland, a country that is very near to my family's heart, where we look forward to meeting with President@MichaelDHiggins, Taoiseach@LeoVaradkar, and Tanaiste@SimonCoveney while celebrating my Irish roots!" Mr Pence tweeted.

Mr Pence's grandfather landed at New York's Ellis Island in the 1920s after emigrating from Tubbercurry in Co Sligo. His great-grandmother came from Doonbeg, Co Clare, where US President Donald Trump has a golf resort.

Mr Pence's visit could include a trip to the course which the president visited earlier this year.

The vice president has visited Ireland with his family several times over the years, but this will be his first trip to the country since assuming the vice presidency in 2017.

Last year he hosted Mr Varadkar and partner Matt Barrett at a St Patrick's Day event in Washington, DC. The move was significant as Mr Pence has been criticised over his stance on LGBTQ issues.

The White House said Mr Pence will voice the United States' "commitment to maintaining peace, prosperity and stability in Ireland by upholding the Good Friday Agreement".

Trade

He will also discuss trade, investment and strengthening the economic relationship between the two nations.

The announcement of the visit came after House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi warned there is "no chance" of a US-UK trade deal if Brexit jeopardises the Good Friday Agreement. She said the Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, will block a deal if EU exit "undermines" the accord.

Her remarks came after President Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton said the UK would be "first in line" for a trade deal if it leaves the EU.

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