President Joe Biden’s plans to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day were scrambled Thursday after Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin tested positive for COVID-19.
Biden was supposed to host Martin for a day of festivities, but those events have been reimagined as the Irish leader isolates at Blair House across the street from the White House. The two leaders will hold a virtual bilateral meeting and Martin will sit out the annual “Friends of Ireland Luncheon” at the Capitol that Biden will attend. Biden will go ahead with a White House reception planned for Thursday evening, but Martin will not attend.
Martin learned he had tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday evening while attending an event with Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but the White House said the president was not considered a close-contact of Martin — also referred to as Ireland’s taoiseach.
This year marks the Irish-American Biden’s second St. Patrick’s Day in office, but his first with substantial in-person events after last year’s celebrations were suspended by the pandemic.