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Swords councillor looks forward to Biden return to Fingal

A Swords councillor who was the first to greet then Vice President of the USA, Joe Biden to Ireland in 2016, hopes Biden will return to Fingal again, this time as President.

Former Mayor of Fingal and Swords-based councillor, Cllr Darragh Butler was just four days in office when he was given the honour of welcoming American president-elect Joe Biden to Fingal at Dublin Airport in June 2016.

Protocol dictates that the Mayor of Fingal welcome foreign dignitaries to Dublin if the President of Ireland is not be available, and for then Mayor Butler, it was an experience of a lifetime. Four turbulent years in American politics later, Cllr Butler recalls standing on the runway of Dublin Airport as Air Force Two brought president-elect Biden at his ancestral home.

Cllr Darragh Butler greeting then Vice President Joe Biden at Dublin Airport in the summer of 2016

He said: 'We had our AGM on the Friday and I was elected Mayor of Fingal and then on the Monday I got a phone call to say you're needed out in the airport on Tuesday evening to welcome him.

'So I was only Mayor of Fingal four days and I'm on the tarmac at Dublin Airport watching Airforce Two pull up, which was really cool.

'Obviously he was Vice President at the time, that was June so the election would have been underway between Hilary Clinton and Trump at that time, Trump hadn't been elected yet. He was with his family and he had a few political meetings but then I think most of it was like a family holiday. To be honest with you it was almost like his retirement tour, he had a few more months in service as Vice President. He had his grand kids with him as well, so there was a very relaxed vibe to it all, and it did seem very much like coming to the end of his vice-presidency.'

Cllr Butler describes president-elect Biden as a 'very pleasant' 'nice guy', whom he was 'thrilled' to meet. The pair had a brief conversation, and Biden jokingly thanked Cllr Butler for issuing a visa. Cllr Butler hopes he will get a chance to shake the new President-elect's hand in Fingal again and hopes it happens 'sooner rather than later'.


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