Belfast Telegraph

Leo Varadkar set to attend Belfast Pride breakfast

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is set to attend a breakfast on Saturday morning as part of Belfast Pride - although will not be attending the parade.

On Friday he will make his first trip to Northern Ireland since taking over as Taoiseach from Enda Kenny in June, and is set to meet with Northern Ireland's political leaders.

A spokesperson from the Department of Taoiseach confirmed this afternoon that he would be attending the Pride Breakfast being held at Belfast's Northern Whig.

According to the Irish Times, Mr Varadkar has said that his decision not to attend the main event is due to his wanting to get back to Dublin in time for the All-Ireland GAA senior football championship quarter-final between Dublin and Monaghan.

He added that he would be attending the breakfast so that he could: "Express my support for equality before the law for Catholics, Protestants, non-religious people, men, women, gay people and straight people. And I won't be making any compromises about that for anyone really."

Earlier Tuesday morning the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson veered away from offering a direct answer when quizzed on the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme about whether "on principle" he supported the Taoiseach's participation in the parade.

"The Taoiseach has to decide what he is going to do. We haven’t heard that he is going to attend this particular parade," he said.

"And you know it depends on what he wants to try and achieve with this. In the end Northern Ireland is a separate jurisdiction, decisions about the law in Northern Ireland are made by the Executive, and what we are focused on are not parades in Belfast, it’s on getting the Executive up and running."

Mr Varadkar drew the ire of the DUP earlier this year after criticising the use of the petition of concern to block same-sex marriage legislation in Northern Ireland.

The Taoiseach came out as gay during an interview with RTE's Miriam O'Callaghan in the run-up to May 2015 same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic.

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