Belfast Telegraph

Varadkar proceeds with St Patrick's Day trip to US despite Brexit drama, as he plans to brief Trump

US President Donald Trump and Leo Varadkar during the Taoiseach’s trip to the US in 2018
US President Donald Trump and Leo Varadkar during the Taoiseach’s trip to the US in 2018

By Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will set out the Republic's position on Brexit when he meets US President Donald Trump in the White House on Thursday.

Mr Varadkar delayed his departure to the United States amid last night’s crunch Brexit talks between the UK and EU in Strasbourg.

An Irish Government spokesman has confirmed that the Taoiseach’s St Patrick’s Day programme in Washington DC will begin tomorrow as planned.

The visit is said to be an opportunity to “deepen Ireland’s strong bilateral relations with the US, and to build even stronger transatlantic relations between the US and the EU.”

Mr Varadkar will tomorrow hold a series of meetings with Irish and US companies investing on both sides of the Atlantic to promote economic ties.

US companies employ 155,000 people in the Republic of Ireland while Irish firms have more than 100,000 American workers Stateside.

The Taoiseach will also attend the annual Ireland Funds Gala Dinner, and visit an exhibition entitled ‘Blazing a Trail: Irish Women in America’.

Thursday begins with a breakfast hosted by US vice-president Mike Pence before Mr Varadkar goes to the White House for his Oval Office meeting with Mr Trump.

Mr Varadkar will also attend the annual Speaker’s Lunch on Capitol Hill, and meet with senior members of Congress.

The Taoiseach will use his meetings to emphasise the strength of Irish-US relations, to recall the important role of the US in supporting peace and the Good Friday Agreement, and outline Ireland’s position on Brexit.

He is also to press the case for resolving the situation facing the undocumented Irish in America.

The traditional Shamrock Ceremony will take place in the White House on Thursday evening.

Mr Varadkar travels to Chicago on Friday and he will march in the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade the following day.

Irish Independent

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