Taoiseach to meet Donald Trump in Washington today

Taoiseach to meet Donald Trump in Washington today
Leo Varadkar pictured with Donald Trump last year

Brexit and strengthening Irish-American relations will dominate today’s meeting between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and US President Donald Trump at the White House.

They will hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, before the annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration reception and shamrock presentation ceremony.

The Taoiseach has a packed schedule today in Washington, with two trips to the White house, a breakfast with the Vice president, lunch on Capitol Hill and the annual bowl of shamrock ceremony.

All eyes will be on the Oval Office, where he will hold a bilateral meeting with Donald Trump.

Brexit will be raised, with the Taoiseach saying he intends to raise any future trade deal between the US and the UK and urging no trade deal be done with the UK that would ever undermine the peace process.

He says protecting peace and the values of the Good Friday agreement post-Brexit will be crucial.

"We're not asking anyone here in America to take sides between the UK, the European Union and Ireland. We know that they will want to negotiate a free trade agreement with the UK into the future," he said.

"We also want to negotiate a free trade agreement between the US and the EU and would like to do that before there is any agreement with the UK.

"We will be saying to them of course that the Good Friday Agreement has to be paramount, the peace process has to be paramount."

He will also raise the plight of the undocumented Irish in America.

Before that, Leo Varadkar will attend a breakfast with US Vice-President, Mike Pence.

Mr. Pence, who has been criticized for his controversial views on LGBT issues, last year extended an invite for both the Taoiseach and his partner, Matt Barrett to visit his Washington residence.

That’s an invite the couple are taking up this morning.

"He's going to be at the breakfast tomorrow, he was able to get the time off work and make the journey so he'll be taking up the invitation from Mike Pence," Mr Varadkar said.

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