Joe Biden Says he Will Announce 2024 Presidential Run ‘Relatively Soon’ – Joe Biden left Ireland in the early hours of Saturday morning vowing to run for president again and promising to “relatively soon” declare his candidacy for a second term. At the same time, he expressed his optimism for a period of renewal in Northern Ireland, reiterating the “incredible” investment opportunities awaiting the United States if peace prevails.
Before departing Ireland West airport on the final day of his four-day visit to Ireland, Biden was asked whether the last few days changed his thinking regarding the timing of his candidacy announcement. “No, no I have already made that calculus. We will announce it relatively soon,” he said. “The trip here just reinforced my sense of optimism about what can be done. I told you my plan is to run again.”
On Friday night he bounded on to the stage in Ballina by the banks of the River Moy in a display of energy and stamina after a hectic four-day visit. Possibly, the purpose of the speech was to dispel voter concerns that, at the age of 80, he is too old to run for re-election to the White House. When asked if his four-day journey to Northern Ireland had been successful, he stated that there was “more to be done” in Northern Ireland.
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However, he stated that he wanted to instill a sense of “optimism” about the region’s future, citing the region’s enormous economic opportunities, particularly in the cybersecurity sector, for which Northern Ireland is already well-known. There is much at risk. “There’s a lot at stake. A lot at stake. And I think the combination of Ireland – the whole island – Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the United States can change the way things occur on the continent.”
“Look, think about it. Think about how much the economy is growing. Think about what’s happening here. Think about the technology. Think about the cybersecurity capabilities.” Biden dangled a $6 billion (£5 billion) carrot in front of Northern Ireland’s leaders at the outset of his visit on Wednesday, promising to invest $6 billion in the country’s economy if power sharing is restored.
The communities of Carlingford and Ballina can anticipate a lasting tourism boost as a result of the visit, similar to that experienced by New Ross in County Wexford, which has become a John F. Kennedy shrine popular among Irish Americans. Paul Kelly, chief executive officer of Fáilte Ireland, stated that the tourism board was already capitalizing on the global media attention surrounding the two picturesque towns where two of Biden’s ancestors were born.
In a post-pandemic effort to attract American tourists, Fáilte Ireland will accommodate 85 international journalists at the five-star Ashford Castle hotel on the edge of Connemara the following week. “For every euro a visitor spends, they spend two other euros in other parts of the economy, be that eating or going to the local pub or visitor attraction,” Kelly said.
Former U.S. president Bill Clinton, a key player in securing the Belfast Good Friday agreement, has assumed responsibility for U.S. efforts in Northern Ireland. While the 46th president was delivering a passionate address to 27,000 people in Ballina, County Mayo, the 42nd president was landing in Belfast.
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He is in Northern Ireland for a series of scheduled events from Monday to Wednesday that will bring together the major figures behind the peace agreement, including Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, and former U.S. senator George Mitchell. Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, will also visit Belfast on Wednesday as efforts continue to restore power-sharing in Stormont.
While Biden’s journey to Ireland was viewed as a political and diplomatic success, questions were raised regarding the taxpayer funding of such a lengthy trip involving a large delegation that included the secretary of state and numerous politicians. Asked if he was sad to leave, he said: “No, I’m anxious to get home. I’m always – I love Ireland, I love the people, and I love working with the taoiseach. But, you know, home is where my heart is. And it’s real.”