Party on the streets of County Mayo: Joe Biden’s cousins celebrate in Ireland after he was named as the next US President
- Joe Biden claimed narrow victory over Trump for the US presidency on Saturday
- His Irish cousins in Ballina, Co Mayo popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate
- Joe Blewitt, a cousin of Biden, is hoping to make it to the inauguration next year
Joe Biden’s cousins celebrated in his ancestral home in Ireland after he was named as the next US President.
Biden claimed victory after American TV networks unanimously called the election for him after he secured the state of Pennsylvania, giving him the required 270 electoral college votes.
His Irish cousins in the town of Ballina, Co Mayo in the west of Ireland popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate the president-elect.
Joe Biden’s Irish cousins pop a bottle of champagne to celebrate his narrow victory over Trump under a pop-art mural of the president-elect in Ballina, Co Mayo in the west of Ireland
Joe Blewitt, a third cousin of US Presidential candidate Joe Biden, and his wife Deirdre celebrated in anticipation of the results of the US election as Biden edged closer to victory
The town of Ballina, Joe Biden’s ancestral home, had been decked out in the famous stars and stripes in anticipation of his success and a pop-art mural of Biden overlooking the main square was recently unveiled.
A third cousin of Mr Biden and Ballina local, Joe Blewitt, said that they are in regular contact calling him ‘a really nice fellow’ and was in no doubt that the former Vice President would prevail.
The married dad of three told the PA news agency: ‘I think we’re all pretty confident that’s he’s going to get across the line. It’s just a pity that it’s dragging out so long.’
The election took four days to call as a result of the large number of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic.
US President Donald Trump has attempted to frustrate the process, calling for vote counting to be stopped and launching a number of lawsuits.
He has so far refused to recognise the results of the election.
Biden claimed victory after American TV networks unanimously called the election for him after he secured the state of Pennsylvania, giving him the required 270 electoral college votes
According to Biden’s distant cousin, the approach is not making him many friends in Mayo.
Mr Blewitt said: ‘Joe Biden is talking about policies, he’s meeting with all the health officials and he’s setting up a plan.
‘The other man is still talking about himself. That was always the case with him. It wasn’t about the people, it was about himself.’
Mr Blewitt, a heating and plumbing contractor, was invited to the White House in 2017, when Mr Biden was awarded the congressional medal of honour from then president Barack Obama.
He is hoping he will be able to make it over again for the inauguration next year.
‘Hopefully we can go back over in January – if he can remove the other man,’ he said.
The pair are in regular contact too, with Mr Blewitt remarking: ‘They’re sound, they’re good people and he’s a really nice fella. He’s good to talk to.’
Ballina local, Joe Blewitt, said that they are in regular contact with Joe Biden calling him ‘a really nice fellow’ and is hoping to make it to the inauguration next year
The festival atmosphere in Ballina on Saturday was a mark of how much Mr Biden’s victory means to the town.
Businesses all over the town of 10,000 people were decked out in posters and American flags, while locals sipped champagne in celebration.
‘He was here when he was Vice President and the hype when he was here the last time was unbelievable. They’re so proud of him.
‘Now he’ll be the President of the United States, they’re delighted, they’re absolutely delighted. To think one of their own is one of the most powerful men in the world’ Mr Blewitt said.
The Democrat recorded a historic election victory over Donald Trump, having secured a record number of votes for a presidential candidate, with almost 75 million.
There was a festival atmosphere in Ballina on Saturday as businesses all over the town of were decked out in posters and American flags
US presidential candidate Joe Biden has spoken about his Irish heritage on a number of occasions.
Mr Biden can trace his Irish roots back to both the Blewitts from Co Mayo and the Finnegans from Co Louth.
Mr Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewit emigrated from Ballina for America during the Irish famine, 170 years ago.
Biden’s other great-great grandfather was Owen Finnegan, from the Cooley Peninsula, in Co Louth.
The family moved to America in the late 1840s and settled in Seneca, New York
Ten of Biden’s 16 great-great grandparents were also born in Ireland.
Biden visited Ireland on an official visit as vice-president in 2016.
The win was especially sweet for Beryl McCrainey Slevin, a California native who has lived in Ballina for over 15 years.
Her hope is that Mr Biden will be able to reunite her homeland after a divisive four years under Mr Trump.
She met with Mr Biden when he visited Ballina while serving as vice-president and is looking forward to his return.
‘The town just went bananas. It was just so exciting to have him here. Everybody was out, the children were out, schoolkids were out to greet the plane over at Knock.
‘Really for all of Co Mayo it was amazing, but in particular for Ballina. You feel like he’s one of us, he’s one of our own’ she said.
She added: ‘They were just warm, wonderful people. I’m excited for the town and the future of the town.
Meanwhile, Joe Blewitt is not ruling out the possibility of a Joe Biden plaza in Ballina – similar to the one built in Moneygall to honour Barack Obama when he visited his ancestral home.
‘Yeah I we’ve got messages coming in now, where are we going to put it? It’s great craic’ he said.
Irish premier, Taoiseach Micheal Martin tweeted his congratulations to Mr Biden on Saturday, shortly after his victory was confirmed.
He said: ‘I want to congratulate the new President Elect of the USA.
‘Joe Biden has been a true friend of this nation throughout his life and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.
‘I also look forward to welcoming him back home when the circumstances allow!’
Distant cousin Mr Blewitt, a plumber, was invited to the White House in 2017. Pictured: Joe Blewitt with his van reading ‘Joe Biden for the White House and Joe Blewitt for your house’
Mr Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewit emigrated from the town of Ballina for America during the Irish famine 170 years ago, having worked as a brick-maker and as a civil engineer helping to map Ireland.
Ten of Biden’s 16 great-great grandparents were also born in Ireland.
A pop-art mural of Mr Biden, which overlooks the main square in the old market town, was recently created by local artists Smiler Mitchell and Leslie Lackey.
After the unveiling, Mr Biden pledged to revisit the town if he wins the election.
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