Biden basks in Eire’s welcome as he highlights private and political ties

Biden basks in Ireland's welcome as he highlights personal and political ties

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Dublin, Ireland
CNN
 — 

President Joe Biden is spending most of his trip to Ireland this week exploring his family’s roots, from the shoemaker who sailed from Newry in 1849 in search of a better life in America to the brick-seller in Ballina who sold 28,000 bricks to pay for his own family’s passage to the US.

Yet as his official meetings Thursday demonstrate, the Ireland he is visiting this week is a distant cry from the place his ancestors left so long ago. It’s even far removed from the place President John F. Kennedy – the last Catholic president – visited 60 years ago, when the Church remained at the center of power in the country and economic development was only beginning to take hold.

Now a thriving European economy, with a major technology sector and among the highest per capita GDP figures in the entire European Union, Ireland hardly resembles the country many Irish…

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