The White House has said it was “very clear” US President Joe Biden was referring to the New Zealand rugby union team when he made a mistaken reference to “the Black and Tans”.
During a speech in Co Louth on Wednesday, Mr Biden confused the name of the New Zealand All Blacks with the contentious Irish War of Independence-era police force the Black and Tans.
The Black and Tans is a name for part-time officers recruited to bolster Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) numbers in Ireland during the War of Independence, many of whom gained a violent reputation.
Mr Biden gaffe came during a speech at the Windsor Bar in Dundalk, when he thanked relative and former Irish rugby player Rob Kearney for the gift of the Irish team tie after a victory against the New Zealand rugby team at Soldier Field in Chicago in 2016.
“It was given to by one of these guys right here, who’s a hell of a rugby player who beat the hell out of the Black and Tans.”
Correcting himself after grimacing, Mr Biden continued: “Ah God – but, but it was when you were at Soldier Field, wasn’t it? Chicago?
“After it was all over he gave my brother, allegedly for me – but if it wasn’t I still took it – I still got the tie.
“I wore it with great pride.”
The RIC was disbanded following the partition of Ireland in 1921 and replaced by An Garda Siochana.
Ireland beat the All Blacks for the first time in 111 years in a 2016 match at Soldier Field in Chicago, a venue chosen in an attempt to increase the exposure of the sport.
The official transcript on the White House website has been amended to say the “All Blacks”.
Asked by reporters on Thursday if Mr Biden realised his mistake, White House National Security Council senior director for Europe Amanda Sloat said: “It was clear what the president was referring to, it was certainly clear to his cousins sitting next to him.”