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‘Irish for Biden’ campaign launches in Carlingford, as US election edges closer

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Cathaoirleach of Dundalk Municipal District Council, Cllr. Emma Coffey in Joe Biden’s ancestral hometown of Carlingford, Co. Louth to launch 'Irish for Biden' campaign. Photo Credit: Maxwell Photography.

Irish people are being urged to contact their friends and family in the US and impress on them the need to support Democratic candidate Joe Biden in next month’s US Presidential Election.

The ‘Irish for Biden’ campaign was officially launched in Carlingford on Friday morning, with Dundalk Municipal District Cathaoirleach Emma Coffey in attendance, as well as Senators Erin McGreehan and John McGahon.

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The election is now just 32 days away and the event, at Fitzpatrick’s Bar & Restaurant, comes at the end of a week when Biden went head-to-head with President Donald Trump in the first of three televised debates in the lead up to polling day.

Carlingford is Mr Biden’s ancestral home and he visited the north Louth area back in 2016, when he was awarded the freedom of Louth.

Among others in attendance at the event on Friday morning was Carija Ihus, Chair of Democrats Abroad Ireland and members of the Finnegan family, who are relatives of Joe Biden through his mother, Jean Finnegan. The event was also attended by several of the Carlingford residents who met Vice President Biden during his visit in 2016.

The ‘Irish For Biden’ campaign is encouraging Irish people to contact their friends and relatives in the US to get out and vote for Joe Biden on Tuesday November 3. Mr Biden is currently leading in the polls and on Thursday evening, the White House confirmed that the President and First Lady Melania Trump had contacted Covid-19.

“The Presidential election is a great opportunity to promote one of our own, Joe Biden. The occasion is to celebrate his Irishness and help foster relations again between our two great countries,” Cllr Coffey said.

“The tagline in our campaign to mobilise Irish America is ‘Call a Cousin, Phone a Friend, Ring a Relative.’ Get in touch with them and tell them its about time we had another Irish American in the Oval Office.”

Paul Allen, lead organiser of the event, added; “Our firm was privileged to work with Louth County Council back in 2016 in arranging the visit of the Vice President. Our role is to stimulate interest, capture the imagination and seek to secure the return of another Irish American to the White House.”

Vice President Biden’s family emigrated to the US from Carlingford in the 1850s. On his last visit to Ireland in 2016, Mr Biden, accompanied by members of his family including five grandchildren, toured the peninsula as he traced his ancestry.

Joe’s mother, Jean Finnegan, was born in the US to Ambrose Finnegan and Geraldine Blewitt. Ambrose’s father, James Finnegan, arrived in New York on the SS Marchioness of Bute in 1850 with his mother and two younger brothers when he was seven years old.

James’ father was a 24-year-old shoemaker called Owen Finnegan, who had arrived a year earlier on board the SS Isaac Wright. James Finnegan later married Catherine Roche, whose parents Thomas and Bridget Roche were also born in Ireland.

All eight of Joe’s great great-grandparents on his mother’s side were born in Ireland in the early 1800s. Two of his great-grandparents on his father’s side were also born in Ireland. In total, 10 of Joe’s 16 great great-grandparents were born in Ireland.

“Everyone in the area was captivated by the visit in 2016, when Joe came home to trace his family roots. A special moment was his visit to Kilwirra Church and Cemetery in Templetown, where his great, great-grandfather is buried,” a spokesperson said.

The Irish For Biden campaign is an independent initiative with no links to political parties.

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