Belfast Telegraph

Varadkar 'not offended' by British monarch portraits in Dublin Castle

By Eimear McGovern

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he's 'not offended' by the portraits of British monarchs currently hanging in Dublin Castle.

He was speaking during a visit to Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday, where he said it's possible to visit a "royal palace without having to get on a boat or plane".

Speaking to BBC News NI, he said "In relation to the portraits, that's absolutely a matter for the Northern Ireland Office.

"It's not one for me to make any decisions on. The only thing I would say is that in Dublin Castle we do have portraits of British Monarchs and we haven't taken them down, they certainly don't offend me."

He visited Northern Ireland to meet business leaders to discuss Brexit.

He was greeted at Hillsborough Castle by DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson along with and business and tourism officials including Niall Gibbons, from Tourism Ireland.

It was announced last week that the Secretary of State Julian Smith has ordered an internal review into the decision to take down portraits of the Queen from government buildings in Belfast.

The pictures were removed after a senior civil servant in the Northern Ireland Office was paid £10,000 in compensation for having to walk past royal portraits.

A UK Government spokesperson said that the review "will report in due course".

The NIO did not confirm if the Secretary of State has requested that the portraits be put back on display ahead of the review's outcome.

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