- Four members of People Before Profit (PBP), plus a Socialist Party lawmaker, have said they will boycott Joe Biden’s speech to the Irish parliament.
- The left-wing group has strongly criticized the president’s stance on major international issues and has spoken out against his record.
- Despite this, Amanda Sloat, National Security Council Senior Director for Europe, said Biden “has received an incredibly warm welcome here in Ireland.”
Some left-wing Irish lawmakers have boycotted Joe Biden’s speech to the country’s parliament, and their party has strongly criticized the president’s stance on major international issues.
People Before Profit (PBP) had previously announced their intention to boycott the special sitting of Ireland’s parliament, while there had previously been concerns about a possible walkout during the President’s remarks.
While Biden has received a warm welcome throughout most of his visit to Ireland and Northern Ireland, PBP is in the process of staging a series of events criticizing the President and his policies.
Four members of the Irish lower house of parliament—known as the Dáil—belong to PBP and one of them, Richard Boyd Barrett, told the Irish Mirror on Wednesday that Biden shouldn’t “be insulated from criticism or questioning.”
Mick Barry, a Socialist Party member of the Irish parliament, also said he would not attend the speech. “There are at least five Dáil deputies boycotting Joe Biden’s address to the Oireachtas in protest at US foreign policy. I am proud to be one of them,” Barry tweeted on Thursday ahead of Biden’s address.
“Far from being a peacemaker, he has a pretty terrible record of supporting all the worst, most militarist stances in U.S. foreign policy over many years,” Boyd Barrett said.
The graph below, provided by Statista, shows deaths in Northern Ireland from the Troubles, a long period of sectarian violence.
“Joe Biden needs to be forcefully challenged over his long-standing and unconditional support for the apartheid regime in Israel and its brutal and criminal treatment of Palestinians; his pivotal role in promoting the US invasion and occupation of Iraq; his active promotion of NATO expansion; and the ongoing and blatant double standards of U.S. foreign policy globally,” the parliamentarian said.
The Irish parliament has chosen not to allow members to make speeches in response to Biden’s remarks on Thursday—a move criticized by Boyd Barrett, who said: “Why should Joe Biden get different treatment to other guests who have been invited to speak who have been subject to questioning or criticism?”
PBP is also holding public events in opposition to Biden, including a public meeting in Dublin on Thursday evening and a protest in County Galway on Friday—the day Biden will deliver a major public address in County Mayo, which borders Galway.
Responding to a question from Newsweek during a press briefing on Thursday, Amanda Sloat, National Security Council Senior Director for Europe, said that the president “has received an incredibly warm welcome here in Ireland.”
“He is very much appreciative of the invitation to address the Houses of Parliament today, is looking forward to touching base with the leaders of Ireland’s main political parties ahead of his address, and is looking forward to what really is a historic opportunity for him to set out his views to the Irish people and to the Irish legislature,” Sloat said.
Newsweek has reached out to Boyd Barrett and PBP for comment via email and phone.
PBP faced criticism last year when the party’s lawmakers didn’t applaud Volodymyr Zelensky when he addressed the Irish parliament, though they did participate in a standing ovation at the end of the Ukrainian president’s speech.
The party later issued a statement saying they “stood for the people of Ukraine and stand with them in their struggle against the Russian imperialist invasion.” The PBP added: “We can’t applaud calls for more sanctions which are hurting ordinary Russians and only bolstering the Putin regime at home.”