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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Sophie Huskisson

Tearful Joe Biden meets priest who conducted ceremony for US President's dead son

Joe Biden today broke down in tears after an unplanned meeting with the priest who performed a ceremony for his son in the US before he died.

The US President met Fr Frank O'Grady, who gave the last rites to his son Beau Biden before he died of brain cancer in 2015, on the final day of his visit to Ireland in Knock, County Mayo.

The village’s parish priest Fr Richard Gibbons said he did not even know Fr O'Grady worked at the shrine before the president visited.

He said President Biden wanted to meet Fr O'Grady "straight away" at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock, a Catholic pilgrimage site.

"He laughed, he cried, it just kind of hit the man, you could just see how deeply it all felt and meant to him.

Fr Richard Gibbons (left) said he did not even know Fr O'Grady worked at the shrine before the president visited (PA)

"It was an extraordinary afternoon. I won't forget it, I can tell you that it was quite something else," Fr Gibbons said.

He went on: "He spoke about his family and his connection with his faith, and also about his son Beau who died.

"And it just so happened, and this was kind of spontaneous, it just so happened that we have, working at the shrine here, the chaplain who gives the last rites of the last anointing to his son in the United States.

"Just extraordinary, and I didn't even know that, I didn't know that until the president arrived."

President Biden’s visit to Co Mayo concluded his four-day tour of Ireland, a trip to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

President Biden’s visit to Co Mayo concluded his four-day tour of Ireland (JULIEN BEHAL/IRISH GOVERNMENT/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

He is due to give a speech at St Muredach's Cathedral, which has a direct link to his ancestors, this evening.

President Biden's great-great-great grandfather Edward Blewitt sold 27,000 bricks to the cathedral in 1827, which helped buy tickets for himself and his family to sail to America decades later in 1851.

The president has repeatedly spoken with passion about his Irish heritage and described his historic address to the country's parliament on Thursday as "one of the great honours of my career".

His speech made him one of only four US presidents to address both Houses of the Irish Parliament - the Oireachtas.

President Biden urged the UK Government to work "closer" with the Irish Government to support Northern Ireland and ensure peace endures in a historic address this evening in Dublin.

"Peace is precious," he insisted. "It still needs its champions. It still needs to be nurtured.

"The Good Friday Agreement didn't just change lives for the better in Northern Ireland, it had a significant positive impact across the Republic of Ireland as well.

He added: "I think that the United Kingdom should be working closer with Ireland in this endeavour. Political violence must never again be allowed to take hold on this island."

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