Justine Dwyer

Waterford man and Ireland’s Ambassador to America, Dan Mulhall was forced to step in for An Taoiseach Michael Martin at a gala event in Washington DC on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day after the Taoiseach tested positive for covid.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi was just about to present An Taoiseach with a special award at the Ireland Funds Annual dinner at the National Building Museum when word came through that the Taoiseach had to leave.

Introducing the Irish Ambassador to the crowd instead, Nancy Pelosi described Dan as “a tremendous friend of America – such a unifying force between Ireland and America. We love him here.”

Taking the sudden turn of events in his stride, Dan explained his presence in lieu of An Taoiseach. “You may wonder why I am here. Earlier the Taoiseach as well as the rest of the delegation, was tested for Covid. That test was negative but because a member of the wider delegation tested positive, the Taoiseach was tested again just before we came here, out of an abundance of caution.”

He continued – “Sadly that test was positive. The Taoiseach has asked me to explain the situation and to deliver his speech. He is in good form.”

Mícheál Martin and Joe Biden were due to meet in-person in the Oval Office for the traditional St Patrick’s Day engagement. However, they met virtually instead. The Taoiseach could be stuck in DC for several more days as America’s health guidelines state that people should not travel until a full 10 days after testing positive.

Mr. Martin told the media he wasn’t suffering any ill affects “I’m feeling good and I think that reminds us of the importance of vaccines.”

                            Dan Mulhall