Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faces his first big international test with the arrival of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau in Dublin last night to begin a State visit to Ireland.
After touching down at Dublin Airport with his wife and young family last night , Mr Trudeau will hold a full day of engagements around the capital today, including meetings with Mr Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins.
His meeting with Mr Varadkar will take place at Farmleigh this morning ahead of a press conference.
He will then host a business roundtable in the city centre ahead of his meeting with President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.
Mr Trudeau will be the guest of honour at a state dinner in Dublin Castle this evening hosted by Mr Varadkar, the first such occasion for the new Taoiseach. The two leaders are expected to address the invited guests before dinner commences.
As he left the tarmac in Canada, Mr Trudeau tweeted a picture of himself and his family boarding the Canadian government jet, setting out his agenda for the week.
After Ireland, he will travel to Scotland and on to Germany to attend a meeting of the G20.
“Wheels up this morning — Ireland, Scotland and Hamburg for the G20 summit,” he tweeted.
In a formal statement released ahead of his arrival here, Mr Trudeau spoke warmly of the robust relationship that exists between the two countries.
“Ireland and Canada share a strong and vibrant relationship, based on shared cultural heritage and strong family ties,” he said. “With the Canadian-European Trade Agreement [CETA], we have the opportunity to collaborate further through a progressive trade agenda that will create good, middle-class jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”
An alliance of farmers, businesses, workers, and environmental activists held a press conference in opposition to CETA yesterday, saying:
“We are opposed to CETA because it contravenes three articles of the Irish Constitution and under the ICS mechanism would transfer power from the Irish courts to an arbitration court outside of the Irish jurisdiction leaving future Irish governments vulnerable to compensation claims from multinational corporations for loss of future profits.”
Representatives from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association, the Environmental Pillar and the Anti-CETA Alliance, together with a number of civil society organisations, are opposed to the agreement for fear of its impact on the Irish market.
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