Donald Trump congratulates Leo Varadkar on ‘great victory’

US president Donald Trump has congratulated Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on his “great victory” in becoming Fine Gael leader.

During their first conversation since Mr Varadkar assumed office, Mr Trump told Mr Varadkar: “Congratulations on your great victory. We have so many people from Ireland in this country — I know so many of them, I feel I know all of them.

“But I just wanted to congratulate you, that was a great victory that you had.”

According to Government sources, the call lasted between 10 and 15 minutes and was described as “wide-ranging” and “fruitful”.

During the call, Mr Trump invited the Taoiseach to attend the annual St Patrick’s Day events in Washington and both leaders looked forward to meeting then.

According to a Government statement, the two leaders agreed to continue strong co-operation between Ireland and the US on economic issues, shared culture, and family ties.

“Particular topics discussed included migration, Brexit and the movement of goods and citizens across the border, climate change, free trade, Irish inward investment in the US, and the undocumented Irish. They also discussed the Northern Ireland Peace Process,” the statement added.

Ahead of his call with the Taoiseach, Mr Trump also had a call with new French president Emmanuel Macron. Mr Macron invited Mr Trump to come to France on Bastille Day, July 14, according to a statement from the Élysée Palace.

In the Dáil, Mr Varadkar said the “phone call was at Mr Trump’s request to congratulate me on my election as Taoiseach”.

“Relations between Ireland and America are very important,” he said. “They are going to go on long after presidents, taoisigh, and governments change in both countries. They are relations that go back centuries. The relationship that we have with the United States is one that is going to have to withstand any particular taoiseach or president.”

A short time later, the Taoiseach also held a call with British prime minister Theresa May.

They discussed the “ongoing efforts to restore the executive in Northern Ireland ahead of Thursday’s deadline, and the supply and confidence agreement between the Conservative Party and the DUP”, according to a statement.

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