Taoiseach delays US trip; 10 ministers spending St Patrick's Day abroad

Taoiseach delays US trip; 10 ministers spending St Patrick's Day abroad

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s trip to America has been curtailed by a day, as he has cancelled a planned trip to New York tomorrow.

Mr Varadkar had been due to attend a meeting in the city tomorrow afternoon, but will now not fly to the US until Wednesday as he takes more meetings on the Covid-19 outbreak tomorrow.

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said that he will stay in Ireland to deal with the ongoing outbreak and that he “looks forward to attending a series of engagements in Washington on Wednesday evening and Thursday, including meeting with President Trump”.

Mr Varadkar will join American President Donald Trump for the traditional St Patrick’s Day meeting between the leaders of the two countries.

Cancelled

The cancellation of the New York event comes as a cabinet subcommittee met and recommended the cancellation of St Patrick’s Day parades across Ireland.

Further advice on mass gatherings is due on Tuesday.

Cabinet plans for the traditional trips abroad have been severely scaled back this year, with costs being kept to a minimum. In total, cabinet members will travel to 10 locations, mostly in the US.

Ministers visiting the US include Business Minister Heather Humphreys who is going to Sacramento; Agriculture Minister Michael Creed who will travel to Chicago; Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring, who will visit Boston, and Defence Minister Paul Kehoe who is going to Savannah.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will visit Paris and Brussels while Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will go to Berlin. Health Minister Simon Harris will remain in Ireland.

This story was updated at 6.55pm

Earlier: Taoiseach cancels New York leg of US trip

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will delay his visit to the United States this week as he deals with the coronavirus outbreak at home.

He will now not go to New York where a UN event is being held as was initially planned.

He will however, go to Washington on Wednesday for a series of meetings and events, including meeting President Donald Trump.

The move will allow him to stay in Ireland on Tuesday as the government deal with the outbreak.

Today, Mr Varadkar will meet with other party leaders as the country responds to Covid-19.

More on this topic

‘I said goodbye to my brother through a window’‘I said goodbye to my brother through a window’

Cabinet convinced to introduce emergency policing powers by rural reportsCabinet convinced to introduce emergency policing powers by rural reports

Conor Fottrell: Putting health and safety on the line to help most vulnerableConor Fottrell: Putting health and safety on the line to help most vulnerable

Niall Mulligan: Social distancing puts services under strainNiall Mulligan: Social distancing puts services under strain