The US presidential election is looking very good for “as Irish as you can get” Democratic candidate Joe Biden, Ireland’s premier has said.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin admitted he has been “glued” to coverage of the long-running count between meetings.
On Friday night, the race for the White House continued, although Mr Biden appeared to have emerged as the frontrunner ahead of Republican President Donald Trump.
“It’s a fascinating election,” Mr Martin told RTE.
“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 President 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 next President 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 President Trump owns a major hotel and golf resort – have indicated their support for him.