Waterford man Maurice Barron, who along with his wife Kandice was a guest of US First Lady Jill Biden at the State of the Union address this week, has told of how he urged president Joe Biden to visit Waterford when he visits Ireland.
Mr Barron told RTÉ radio’s Ryan Tubridy Show that when they met with the US president after the address, Mr Biden told him “I’m planning to go home soon”.
“I officially invited him to Waterford, and he said we’ll definitely do that.”
Mr Barron said his uncle is the current mayor of Waterford and his father is a former mayor.
The Barron family were also guests at a reception in the White House prior to the State of the Union address. Their daughter Ava, who has overcome cancer to become “a rambunctious toddler”, was referenced by the president in his speech.
While the couple were at the address Ava stayed at the White House with her aunt in the movie room. Mr Barron joked that they thought she would be safe there with the Secret Service.
Their daughter was the first official guest to enter the reception and was the centre of attention, he said. Mr Barron added that the president was late to the State of the Union address because he stopped off to meet Ava in the movie room, a fact the family did not know until they were told by the president that he had met Ava.
The Barrons travelled to the State of the Union address in the First Lady's motorcade with Bono, whom they found warm and engaging.
The other guests included the parents of Tyre Nichols and the Ukrainian ambassador to the US.
The event was an extraordinary experience, said Mr Barron. He said it was a much different experience in person than watching it on television.
Afterwards when the couple were introduced to the president as cancer advocates, Mr Biden said “Ava’s parents” and told them how he had met their daughter before the speech.
“It was an extraordinary moment, we had no clue that she had met him before we did. It was amazing that he took the time to go to the movie room to meet Ava.
“He might have been a bit late because he went to meet Ava.”
Mr Barron said he hoped president Biden would make a trip to Waterford. “That would be a huge thing.”