Belfast Telegraph

Leo Varadkar launches west Belfast Feile an Phobail festival

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has launched the Feile an Phobail festival in west Belfast.

It follows a historic trip north of the border, with Mr Varadkar becoming the first Taoiseach to visit the headquarters of the Orange Order.

While opening the Feile an Phobhail festival in west Belfast he met with Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill before addressing the assembled crowd at St Mary's University College.

During the event he also met with new Lord Mayor of Belfast Deirdre Hargey and director of the west Belfast festival Kevin Gamble.

On his arrival he was presented with a Feile an Phobail custom-made hurling.

Ahead of his arrival in Belfast Varadkar faced a backlash from polticians in Northern Ireland, who questioned his decision to launch Feile an Phobail.

DUP Arlene Foster described herself as "very concerned" about his decision to launch the festival, with IRA victims Mairia Cahill and Austin Stack also criticising the Taoiseach.

Responding, Mr Varadkar noted the DUP leader had attended the festival in the past, and that headline act Olly Murs could not be accused of being a "diehard republican".

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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