The following is a record of an interview with Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin, which aired on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, March 14, 2020.
Margaret Brennan: Last year, the Irish Prime Minister visited Washington just before St. Patrick’s Day, but the formal celebration was canceled due to a pandemic. This year, the meeting with President Biden will be virtual. Taoiseach Micheal Martin joined us from Dublin. Good morning.
Irish Prime Minister Mihor Martin: Good morning, Margaret, I’m glad to talk to you.
Margaret Brennan: Thank you for visiting us. The Biden administration has updated the ban on travel from Europe, including Ireland. And given the progress of the pandemic, do you think the pandemic will probably be lifted this summer?
Prime Minister Martin: Well, that depends on the situation, but we likewise have serious restrictions on traveling to Ireland, and in fact traveling to Europe as a whole. I think there will be opportunities when the vaccination program starts, but it’s too early to say. And, especially in the summer situation, there is still a considerable way to go in terms of vaccination and virus control. As you know, in some member states of the European Union, the numbers are currently declining. This is due to the prevalence of the much more contagious B.1.1.7 UK variant.
Margaret Brennan: You have demonstrated the fact that the EU has significantly delayed vaccination of its people. This includes your members. When I meet President Biden this week, it’s a big deal, so will I ask him to vaccinate from US stockpiles?
Prime Minister Martin: Well, I don’t think I know too many countries distributing their vaccines. What I think more critical is clearly discussing COVID and vaccination. An important point to keep in mind for all of us is the fact that this is a consortium in terms of vaccine development and vaccine production. These companies, J & J, Moderna, Pfizer BioNTech, and AstraZeneca are all partnerships between US and European companies and affiliates with a globally integrated global supply chain. As a result, different components of vaccines are being developed in different parts of the world.
Margaret Brennan: reported that the Biden administration has rejected a request from the European Union to lend AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses to the EU. Do you ask President Biden to reconsider it?
Prime Minister Martin: Well, I think the whole problem surrounding AstraZeneca was a serious challenge between AstraZeneca and Europe in that AstraZeneca would fulfill its contractual promise with Europe. They were not in a position to do that. And far below what they promised Europe. But, as I say, I’m not going to anticipate a detailed discussion with the President, but of course the broader COVID vaccination issue will be discussed.
Margaret Brennan: As you know, tensions are rising in Northern Ireland. The UK Government does not respect all the conditions for divorce from the European Union. Currently, Northern Ireland’s paramilitary organization also says it has temporarily withdrawn its support for the Good Friday peace agreement due to other issues. Are you going to intervene in President Biden or ask him to appoint an envoy?
Prime Minister Martin: First of all, we thank President Biden for his solid support for the Good Friday Agreement and the peace of Ireland. We would also like to thank our friends, Vice President and Chairman Nancy Pelosi of Ireland for their consistent support for peace in Ireland. And it was positive in that it affected the journey of Brexit itself. And we knew that Brexit creates challenges. It wasn’t easy. And Brexit has only been two and a half months since Britain officially left the European Union.
Margaret Brennan: Need US help on that?
Prime Minister Martin: Yes, we hope that the President’s interest in Ireland will continue to support the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement, and the Brexit Agreement itself. And there is no doubt that the president will continue that interest and use his good position and the good position of the administration to bring the right results here.
Margaret Brennan: Is that a good way to say that you need to rely on Boris Johnson to keep his commitment? Because as a candidate, Joe Biden said Britain would not win a trade agreement unless they respected the peace agreement.
Prime Minister Martin: Yes, and to be fair, as I said, the recent support of President Biden has been influential and effective for many years. As you know, we in Ireland also need to work on a post-EU relationship with the United Kingdom. And I’m doing well with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and will solve the post-Brexit issue. Due to the relationship between Britain and Ireland after Britain left the European Union, we now have to develop a stronger structure. But part of that relationship is US involvement and ties. I was involved when signing the Good Friday Agreement, so I have no illusions about the importance of US involvement and involvement with all. Irish islands and British aspects and all traditions and all perspectives.
Margaret Brennan: Are there any signs that President Biden will visit Ireland in June?
Prime Minister Martin: Not yet, but when I talked to him in November, I invited him to Ireland. He just told me. That means it’s a live possibility. At any stage, it is possible that President Biden will arrive at our shore. And I can tell you that he will be most welcomed because he is really grateful for the warmth he has for Ireland.
Margaret Brennan: Okay, thank you, Prime Minister of Ireland. Have a nice St. Patrick Day.
Prime Minister Martin: Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Margaret.
We will be back soon.
Transcript: March 14, 2021, Irish Prime Minister Mihor Martin on “Face the Nation”
Source link Transcript: March 14, 2021, Irish Prime Minister Mihor Martin on “Face the Nation”