IT WAS an historic Presidential election indeed in the United States last week as Democrat Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States, while his running mate, Kamala Harris, made history in becoming the first female, first black and Asian-American Vice-President.

It is a presidency that could have a huge influence on issues on this side of the Atlantic and, in particular, around Brexit and any potential trade deal between the UK and the US.

The new President-elect has been described as a “friend to Ireland” in many quarters.

Mr. Biden warned during his successful campaign against Donald Trump that a trade deal with the US is “contingent” on the prevention of a return to a hard Border on the island of Ireland, and that the Good Friday Agreement could not become a casualty of Brexit.

First Minister Arlene Foster, along with Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, sent congratulations to Mr. Biden and Mrs. Harris on Saturday.

Mrs. Foster said: “I recognise that Northern Ireland has a very important relationship with the United States. On Saturday, I congratulated the President-elect and Vice President-elect.

“The United States administration, whether Democrat or Republican, has always been willing to help and support Northern Ireland.

“As we mark Northern Ireland’s centenary and plan for Northern Ireland’s second centenary, it is important to ensure those links continue to develop, through respect and mutual understanding.”

There was also a Fermanagh connection on the winning Democrat ticket, with a Senior Advisor on the campaign related to sitting Fermanagh and Omagh District Councillor, Anthony Feely.

Councillor Feely said: “The presidential election had extra meaning for my family this year as my cousin, Sheila Nix, was a Senior Advisor to the Kamala Harris campaign.”

“Sheila had been Dr. Jill Biden’s Chief of Staff during Joe’s second term as Vice-President [ under Barack Obama].”

The Sinn Féin Councillor for Erne West welcomed the news of the Biden and Harris victory.

He said: “Congratulations to Joe Biden, who has been elected America’s 46th President.

“Further congratulations to Kamala Harris on becoming the first female vice-president in US history – another glass ceiling broken.

“The madness and divisiveness of the Trump presidency is nearly at an end.

“I think it is also good news for people in Northern Ireland in these uncertain times, in regards to Brexit.

“Joe Biden has been a good friend to Ireland over the years, and recently said that any post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the US ‘must be contingent upon respect for the Good Friday Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border in Ireland. Period’.”