The Thursday Politics Thread Wears The Green

Top o’ the mornin’, Politocadoes!

It’s St. Patrick’s Day in those parts of the world that celebrate. A day meant to commemorate his death and be his Feast Day is marked by parades, shamrocks, Irish flags, skelly hats, and pints of Guinness. I thought it fitting to check in on Ireland today and see how that part of the world is holding up.

So, the Taoiseach of Ireland Michael Martin’s meeting with US President Joe Biden was canceled after Martin learned he had tested positive for Covid-19 late Wednesday night. Martin had been attending the Ireland Funds dinner in Washington when he was informed of his results. Several other members of the Irish delegation also tested positive. The meeting is notable as it is the Shamrock Ceremony, a high point in the Irish political calendar, where the Taoiseach gives the President a bowl of Shamrocks, a tradition begun in 1955 by John Hearne and Dwight Eisenhower. Martin has stated that he is feeling well and there are hopes to conduct the meeting virtually. The whole fiasco is a bit of a downer for Martin personally as this would be his only year to perform the ceremony, since he is due to transition out of the role of Taoiseach in December and the last ceremony was cancelled due to Covid.

Other politics managed to sneak their way into the dinner that night. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also attended the dinner and made a statement to the also-attending British ambassador that a post-Brexit hardened border in Ireland would jeopardize a potential US-UK trade deal. One of the things about Covid has been that it’s not only made other problems worse, it’s so big that we sometimes forget about the other trash things that have happened over the last 5 years. Brexit can very possibly lead to a hard border in Ireland and the possibility of renewed conflict on the island.

The war in Ukraine has affected countries around the world, with Ireland not being an exception. The Catholic Church in Ireland is discussing the possibility of housing Ukrainian refugees on their properties, for what that is worth. I certainly hope they can take as many people as they can. An estimated 20 Irish men are currently in Ukraine, volunteering to fight the Russian invasion. One fighter, Ivan Farina, a father of two from County Kildare, was reported to have survived a rocket attack at a base he had been staying. And finally, while Michael Martin has ruled out sending weapons to Ukraine, Ireland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a video set to Paul Brady’s “The Island”, a song written about the Troubles to show the country’s solidarity with Ukraine, dedicating *this* St. Patrick’s Day to the people of Ukraine. It’s a lovely tribute.

And with that, I will say Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all. Have a pint if you’re of the mind, eat a green frosted cookie, stink up your kitchen by making some corned beef and cabbage, and, perhaps most important of all, play some Dropkick.

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