US PRESIDENT Joe Biden says he is looking forward to working together with Ireland to help tackle global issues such as climate change and Covid-19.
In a letter written by Mr Biden, due to be read at a virtual Irish-American event later today, the US president speaks of his pride in his Irish roots and says he is looking forward to meeting and working with Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
The letter, seen by RTÉ News, professes that the US and Ireland has "much to do to address the great challenges of our time; this deadly pandemic, the economic unease and anxiety, the climate crisis, and the rise of political extremism and risk of isolationism."
"Let us work together so we are the nations where hope reigns with an optimism that is brave and digs deep."
In usual times, the Taoiseach would be preparing to travel to the US to present the American president with a bowl of shamrocks and discuss the two countries' links and responsibilities.
This year however, with the Covid-19 pandemic raging across the world, the St Patrick's Day event will be virtual.
Mr Biden's letter will be read out today at the Annual Gala of Glucksman Ireland House, the centre for Irish and Irish-American Studies at New York University, RTÉ News reports.
The Taoiseach himself will also take part in the virtual gala, which will pay tribute to a number of high-profile Irish and Irish-Americans, including former Irish president Mary McAleese.
Mr Biden is expected to speak of his pride in his Irish roots in his message, paying tribute to his "Irish American family that imbued in me a sense of pride that spoke of both continents, a heart and soul that drew from the old and new; pride in community, faith, and above all, family."
The Gala will be available to watch from anywhere in the world, free of charge, this year, for the first time ever.