Bono pays tribute to Varadkar and Coveney on stage in New York

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney speaking in New York yesterday. Photo: Daniel McConnell.

Daniel McConnell in New York

U2 singer Bono has paid a warm tribute to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste on stage at a sold-out show in New York.

He thanked them for their very hard work” in protecting “our borderless island”.

Speaking during the show at the world famous Madison Square Garden on the second last night of the US leg of their Experience & Innocence tour, the singer said: “We are proud of the island of Ireland.”

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste are in New York to officially launch the Government's two-year campaign to win a seat on the United Nations Security Council from 2021 to 2022.

More than 150 of the 193 UN ambassadors were present at the gig, as guests of U2, as part of that bid. The politically-heavy show made several references to the ongoing peace process in Northern Ireland.

Speaking about Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney, Bono said: “They work very hard to protect our borderless island.”

The U2 singer also paid a warm tribute to former Irish president Mary Robinson who was also in attendance at the concert for her work in the Northern Irish peace process.

Today, Ms Robinson and Bono will join with Mr Coveney and Mr Varadkar at the official launch at the United Nations building in Manhattan.

On stage, Bono also heaped high praise on the work of the UN in terms of peacekeeping.

He said: “The world has watched those blue hats put themselves in harm’s way all over the world.”

“Tonight we have 150 ambassadors representing the United Nations here tonight; we want to thank you for keeping the world more peaceful,” he said.

“You do f**k up the traffic here sometimes but that’s okay,” he added in reference to the notorious traffic congestion caused during the UN General Assembly every September.

In addition to the UN ambassadors, a delegation from the Irish Government as well as the media were present at the concert.

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