Dominic McGrath, PA
US president Joe Biden has claimed he visited Ireland to ensure the “Brits didn’t screw around”.
He made the comments at a Democratic Party event in New York on Wednesday.
Mr Biden made a four-day trip to Ireland last month, visiting both the North and the Republic.
Speaking to reporters, he said: “I got to go back to Ireland for the the Irish Accords, to make sure the Brits didn’t screw around and Northern Ireland didn’t walk away from their commitments.”
Mr Biden used his visit to say he believed the UK should be working more closely with the Irish Government to support Northern Ireland.
The trip saw Mr Biden meet briefly with British prime minister Rishi Sunak in Belfast, before undertaking a series of engagements across the Republic that culminated in a homecoming event in Ballina, which saw him celebrate his ancestral links to the Mayo town.
The visit came after the UK and the EU secured a long-awaited deal designed to address unionist concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Windsor Framework has not yet seen power-sharing return in Northern Ireland, with Stormont still collapsed after the DUP pulled out of the institutions amid anger at the post-Brexit arrangements.
Mr Biden, whose trip coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, made clear his hope that power-sharing could soon be restored.
Downing Street said Mr Sunak’s Brexit deal with the EU was about “protecting” the Good Friday Agreement, when asked about the remarks.
Asked about the US president’s remarks, Mr Sunak’s official spokesperson said: “You will know that, obviously, the Windsor Framework was a culmination of substantive work between the UK and the EU, and at its heart the UK priority was always protecting the Good Friday Agreement.
“We have been consistent on that point throughout and we are pleased that between the UK and the EU we have been able to reach an agreement that works for the people of Northern Ireland, and for the whole of the UK.”