U2 FRONTMAN Bono made a rare joint public appearance alongside wife Ali Hewson at the Dáil this afternoon for a speech by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi, who arrived in Dublin on Tuesday, was invited to speak at Leinster House by Ceann Comhairle (speaker of Dáil Éireann) Seán Ó Fearghail.
In her address to TDs and senators, the 79-year-old Democratic Party heavyweight and vocal opponent of President Donald Trump warned the US would not strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK if the Good Friday Agreement was undermined.
Speaking as part of the centenary celebrations of the First Dáil, Pelosi said also addressed other issues such as climate change and announced her backing for Ireland's bid to be elected to the UN Security Council for 2021–22.
She also praised Bono – who was in the public gallery alongside his wife of 36 years Ali – for his music and advocacy work, calling him "one of Ireland's most beloved exports".
Recalling how U2 played a concert around the time the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, Pelosi noted that children born that year are now in their early 20s and have only known peace as a result of the historic peace accord.
Special guests at today's #Dáil100 event in the Dáil Chamber included Bono - Paul Hewson - and Ali Hewson - continue watching LIVE here #seeforyourself https://t.co/NuM3iQd63F pic.twitter.com/AVdRd7tZKn
— Oireachtas News (@OireachtasNews) 17 April 2019
However, her main focus was on the Good Friday Agreement itself and she reiterated comments she made in recent days about Britain's duty to uphold the deal in the event of a US-UK trade deal after Brexit.
"We treasure the Good Friday Accord not only because of what it has meant for Ireland and Northern Ireland – that would be reason enough – it is an article of faith for us, we treasure it because of what it says for us," Pelosi said.
“We must ensure that nothing happens in the Brexit discussions that threatens the Good Friday Accords.
"If the Brexit deal undermines the Good Friday Accord, there will be no chance of a US-UK trade agreement."
The Speaker of the US House of Representatives also called for a seamless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic post-Brexit.
On the issue of climate change, she said the US and Ireland could do better and must work together to combat the problem.
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) 17 April 2019
She recalled the 1963 visit to Ireland of President John F. Kennedy, who told the Dáil that the two nations were united by history despite being divided by distance.
"We both endured the traumatic experience of civil war and the satisfaction of rebuilding our nation," Pelosi added, saying both Ireland and the US appreciate "the joy of independence".
She concluded: "It is these mutual experiences that our nations affirm for each other and to the world our democratic values and commitment to freedom.
"When Ireland proudly proclaimed its independence our people stood together... God Bless the United States of America and Ireland."
Pelosi shook Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s hand before leaving the chamber.
Meanwhile, there was a logjam just yards away as politicians queued to shake hands with a beaming Bono.