The US presidential election is looking very good for “as Irish as you can get” Democratic candidate Joe Biden, the Taoiseach has said.
Micheál Martin admitted he has been “glued” to coverage of the long-running count.
Last night, Mr Biden appeared to emerge as the frontrunner in the race for the White House ahead of Republican president Donald Trump.
“It’s a fascinating election,” Mr Martin told RTÉ. “I think it is a great manifestation of democracy. At the end of the day huge numbers turned out and it’s great to watch the counts in different counties.
“It’s looking very good for Joe Biden right now. I would have met him as minister for foreign affairs, I think he initiated the St Patrick’s Day breakfast event which has continued on.
“He’s as Irish as you can get in terms of his background and is very proud of that.
“I think from the Irish perspective, that relationship with America is key.
“It’s a strong traditional relationship built up through migration over the years, but latterly the economic relationship is so strong and that connection between us is one we would like to see nourished in terms of whoever emerges victorious from this election.”
Asked about allegations made by Donald Trump over the election being “stolen” from him, Mr Martin responded: “In the white heat of battle, people say things. But when you look the Republican party, for example, has done quite well in some of the states where allegations have been made in relation to the presidential election, in congress and senate elections that doesn’t appear to be the case.
“In fairness, despite a lot of the pressure, county by county, the officials seem to have worked very very hard to reassure people of the integrity of the election.”
Residents in two Irish towns are poised for celebrations when the result is declared. In Mr Biden’s ancestral home in Ballina, Co Mayo, some residents say they are confident they will be welcoming him back as US president.
Meanwhile, some residents of Doonbeg, Co Clare — where Mr Trump owns a major hotel and golf resort— have indicated their support for him.
The Taoiseach made the comments as Mr Biden edged closer to victory.
Mr Biden last night took the lead in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia in what could be decisive moments.
With forecasts putting him just one state from victory,
Mr Biden overhauled the Republican incumbent’s leads by more than 9,000 votes in Pennsylvania and more than 1,500 in Georgia.